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FAQ: The Power of Seven Simple Questions

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015 12:00 pm by shirlala


The Power of Seven Simple Questions


Rosh Hashana is almost here once again! Do you remember where you were, or more importantly, who you were at this time last year?

It’s our first week back to school and I have been doing Rosh Hashana 5775 Interviews with my young students (kindergarten through 7th graders) to look back on the past year and reflect on what’s coming. I’ve found that the children’s answers have not only been fun but heartfelt and truly informative.
Introspection is all about consciousness raising. For us grown ups and even for our little ones. In fact, they inspired me to ask myself these same questions and see where they took me.  I was surprised by the power of these seven simple questions, profound for both children and adults alike.

See the seven points below that we spoke about. With the children, I introduced each point as though we were in a formal interview to up the fun.

What to do with your answers? Name them. Feel them. Think about them. Be with them. Let yourself and the universe do what you need to do to work through the needs, wants, and lacks. Make space to celebrate the lights, smiles, and the growth.

(For extra emphasis on Hebrew I use as many Hebrew words as possible, always including any words I know the students have learned. Vocabulary list can be found at the bottom.)

 Questions For Children  Questions For You
1. Please state your full Hebrew name. 1.  Ok, so maybe you don’t have a Hebrew name, I always use Hebrew names with my students! But I’m thinking for me this question is a quick check in to know if I am right here, right now: a simple re-minder of mindfulness and presence.   Once upon a time Yah asked Adam, “AYEKA?” This is a particularly special way of asking “WHERE are you Adam?” as if to say, “Are you present in this moment in time?”
2. Please state, b’ivrit, how old are you now at the rosh of the shana and how old will you be at the sof of the shana? 2.  John Lennon once said, “Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.”  Are you honoring yourself as you grow older and wiser each year? A friend told me this summer “Repeat or Repair, Shira!” Repeat or repair.  Is your story evolving as you grow and learn about yourself?





3. Did you grow taller since last Rosh Hashana and if so how tall are you now? 3.  Yes, we may not be growing any taller these days so how about this: Am I giving my body what it needs to grow in a healthy way? Am I giving my body what it needs to feel awake, alive and able?
4. Looking back, what is one thing you learned or improved in this past shana? 4.  Isn’t it funny how hard it is to remember specifics from the past year even though it just happened? Rosh Hashana gives us the reason for the season. Look back through your monthly calendars. Look for highlights.  You learned many, many things last year. What is one of them?
5. Looking forward, what is one thing you would like to learn or improve in this coming shana? 5.  Dream big, why don’t you?! Tap dancing, cello, web coding, pottery, bicycling – new and improved skills are within your reach. Go get ‘em.





6. What is one thing you are feeling nervous about or afraid of in this coming shana? 6.  Naming our challenges is the first step and sometimes the only step we need to take in order to face them. Whether we discover that they are only an illusion and need no more emphasis or we build a support system around them to create a safe space for ourselves, this is a self-love, important action.





7. What is one wish you have for yourself, for others, or for the world in this coming shana?* 7.  Better than a list of New Year’s resolutions, this is a Love List:  Abundance, friendship, loving kindness, calm – what we focus on expands.  This is a list of seeds that we want to water, as the Buddhists teach.  






What questions are You asking yourself at this time of year?
Shana Tova u’M’tukah, Have a sweet and good year!



Hebrew vocab list:
Rosh – head
Shana – year
B’ivrit – in Hebrew
Sof – end
Tova – good
M’tukah – sweet

*This could turn into a Rosh Hashana birthday wish list for the world and a lovely birthday card art project.





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Posted in Activities for home and classroom, Hebrew Vocabulary, Holidays, Lesson Plans and Heart Pointing, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur