Lessons from Kindergarden

There are some lessons we learned in kindergarden, like sharing toys, cough into your elbow and  perfecting the use of "please" & "thank you". But the lesson I REALLY took away from my childhood was always make cards. It is true that as we get older, some of us believe that we lack in artistic skills and resort to an email or a store bought card. However, the principle of sending a follow-up after meeting someone or sending a message through the mail (email or snail mail), it is instilled in our society today. 

A few weeks ago I was walking home from an adventurous day in Chicago with my cousins (who were in town from NYC) when suddenly, I heard multiple voices singing songs for שבת Shabbat. I knew the song and  joined in, still not knowing who was singing. I passed the house with all the shrubbery to find two families with children sitting on their porch. They were singing while waiting to start שבת Shabbat and enthusiastically invited me to join for their picnic style שבת Shabbat dinner. Let me state that not 30 min before, I had stuffed my face with deep dish pizza, but I agreed to a glass of wine (and obviously some challah....it's sooooo good!) I don't know many of my neighbors and this was a perfect opportunity to change that. I joked around with the kids, avoided both dogs, chatted with the parents and had a wonderful time getting to know my neighbors. SInce that night I have celebrated the Jewish holiday of סוכות Sukkot with both families and have felt very much welcomed into both of their homes. 

Whenever we in my family,  needed to give a card of any kind (birthday, graduation, get well...you name it) my mother would ask my sister and I to whip up a "Whiteman Original". The recipient of said card, would always feel a little extra special because it was handmade and personalized. 

 

 Cards created by Shifra Whiteman.

Cards created by Shifra Whiteman.

So that is exactly what I did this week. I whipped up a "Whiteman Original" and illustrated the scene of the night I met those two wonderful families. I scanned the original painting, printed two cards and wrote each family a little note expressing how great it feels to have warm, friendly and hospitable families in the neighborhood. Here's to using our lessons from kindergarden!