I'm finding dealing with things quite the parenting challenge lately. It's Hanukkah, and earlier this month I promised myself I wouldn't buy my kids anything at all until Hanukkah because I knew that if I did the whole beauty of getting and, indeed, of giving gifts would be lost. The Hanukkah gifts would be just more little trinkets for my kids to hoard, more random objects to attach themselves to in profound and confusing ways that only Freud could really understand.
And Hanukkah is such a beautiful holiday, so rich with meaning and hope. When we light the menorah, we are celebrating the victory of the Maccabees (a Jewish rebel army) over the Syrians in 156 BCE, and the rededication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem that followed. When the Maccabees rededicated the temple, they had only a small flask of olive oil with which to light the Temple's eternal flame -- enough to keep it lit for one day. But, miraculously, this small flask of oil lasted eight days, giving them enough time to press new olive oil, and keep the eternal flame alive, well, eternally.
As a "friend" reminded me the other day, there's a great modern message in this miracle: a green message. To think, one flask of oil could go such a long way! It's a reminder to us all that a little energy, a little water, any precious resource we use too much of, can go a long way.