As a parent, you don’t always know if certain ideas, information, and traditions you are trying to instill in your kids are actually “in there” until something is unexpectedly said or done that makes you grin from ear to ear.
Today in religious school (I teach second grade, and the younger boy, my 13-year-old, is my teaching aide) we were talking about Hanukkah, since it’s fast approaching. I was explaining to my students that we load the candles into the menorah from right to left. So, on the first night, there is one candle on the far right and then the helper candle–or “shamash”, or “shamus”–is, well, wherever the hole for the helper candle is (it’s different on all menorahs). On the second night, there are two candles on the far right, and so on. When we light the candles, we light the helper candle first and light the newest candle before the older ones.
To summarize, we load the candles from right to left, and light them from left to right. Get it?
Anyway, I asked my son if he could draw a representation of what I was telling the class. I said, “Do you think you can draw what I’m saying, using the menorah that we *always use*?” Although I collected menorahs for a while (as decorations; we never lit them all! Can you say “Fire Hazard”?) but stopped after we ended up with way too many, we have lit the same menorah for as long as I can remember. My Grandma made it out of ceramic, and I guard that thing with my life. I adore it. It is this family heirloom that is my own personal symbol of our Hanukkah celebrations, and I never knew whether it made an impression on anyone else in the house. Anyway, as teen boys aren’t notoriously known for their attention to detail, I wondered how he’d do with the drawing, especially after not having seen the menorah in a full year.
I’ll tell you what, you be the judge. Here’s his drawing, on the chalkboard today.