Feb 2012

Sweet Surpries

Miriam is an alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, (Class IX) and currently serves as the Director of Educational Engagement at the Center for Jewish Education in Baltimore where she tries to creatively, thoughtfully and passionately inspire families to connect with Judaism and Jewish community through meaningful encounters with our tradition and our people.  Miriam can be reached at: miriamburg@yahoo.com.

My son has decided that he is going to be a “candy man” when he grows up, someone who gives out candy to anyone who wants – what a fantasy!  My husband and I decided to indulge his dream for a day.  For his fourth birthday we had a “candy party.” He received many candy-themed presents, including a cookbook that illustrates how to create amazing things out of candy.  A few weeks later, I realized that I had a precious afternoon to spend with my children.  We embarked on a candy adventure.  I bought the ingredients to build a candy castle.  We followed the instructions exactly – but it wasn’t working.  It is not often enough that I have time like that to indulge my kids’ crazy fun desires and I really wanted to build something spectacular with them.  As each wall and turret we tried to erect collapsed, my frustration grew.

I was about to apologize to my kids and declare the experiment a failure when my six year old daughter piped up, “Ima, we don’t have to build it their way.  We can design our own castle.”  With just those few words, my daughter transformed the candy castle experience for the rest of us.  We put the book away and began to play.  We played with cookies and frosting and candy.  We played with each other.  We laughed.  We experimented with which building materials tasted the best.  We built a candy castle.  I learned that sometimes, the best experiences grow from our failures and often times the best teachers are children.