The Path to Adulthood (Miketz)
And Pharaoh said to his courtiers, “Could we find another like him, a man in whom is the spirit of G-d?” (Genesis 41:38)
In last week’s parsha (Vayeshev), Yosef is referred to as a “lad” (נער). In this week’s parsha, Pharaoh calls him a “man” (איש). One might say that Yosef matured into a man, not simply by the passage of years but by his experiences during that time and how he responded to those experiences. Away from home, Yosef was forced to deal with the difficulties of life, make decisions and suffer their consequences. There was nobody there to save him from Potiphar’s wife or from being thrown in jail.
In encouraging our children’s maturity we must allow them to deal with life’s challenges (age appropriately) without a safety net. Swooping in and protecting them from difficult experiences and the consequences of their decisions may be well intentioned, but it can rob them of the confidence and ability to dig deep, persevere, learn and grow.
A true parent is always giving to her child and sometimes that means standing back and giving him the gift of belief in himself.