Very often when we look at the nachas our children bring us, we focus on the “big things”: major achievements such as learning to walk, bringing home a good school report, becoming a doctor/rabbi/lawyer, etc. However, I have noticed many times, that children provide an unlimited source of nachas if one looks at little things as well.
For example, one of our children was very shy when they were small and shied away from communication with strangers. One of my biggest nachas moments was seeing this child, a couple of years older, wave back to a Mickey Mouse “greeter” outside a shop – although it seemed insignificant, for this child, it was a big deal.
Watching the children interact with each other, particularly seeing how they look after the younger children, is a constant source of nachas. I always like seeing them (generally) enjoying spending time with each other, in different combinations, or asking a sibling to accompany them if they go on an errand. Specific interactions between them, such as when they remember to ask each other about a significant event that day, or offer an unprompted compliment, are not only signs that they are developing into civilised adults, but also big nachas moments.
Writing this down has enabled me to clarify my thoughts – it’s not so much that these are little things, but rather that the things which bring me the most nachas are seeing the children’s good middos and personalities develop, rather than their academic or formal achievements. I got just as much pleasure from seeing some of the children teach a younger sibling to ride a bike as I did from seeing the child riding. And I was the most impressed with that child when they fell off the bike into a bramble patch and, having been cleaned up and cuddled, got back up on the bike and set off again.
I think the bottom line is that many people can be successful academically, professionally, or in physical endeavours, if they are prepared to work hard and practice enough, but that being a genuinely “nice” person is more important, and fewer people seem to be prepared to work hard and practice doing that.