When Arianna Huffington first asked me to do a #TalkToMe video with my daughters it raised all kinds of fears. What would my children ask me? What would I have to reveal to them? What if there were things that I did not want the rest of the world to know?
Slowly the power of the idea hit me. We as parents are so often asking questions of our children and trying to engage them as much and as deeply as possible. But the idea of a reverse engagement, of opening up the well streams of our experience, wisdom, and knowledge to an eager next generation of youth, is no longer a modern rite of passage, even with our own children.
When I sat down to do the interview with my eldest daughter Mushki, and my third daughter Shterny, they were insistent that I could not have an inkling of the questions before. That made it more mysterious but also created more anxiety. They are accustomed to seeing me interviewed, and they're even more accustomed to my peppering them with questions at the dinner table. With the roles reversed I was in a position of disempowerment. It made me feel vulnerable. But it was also invigorating and lots of fun.
At the end an intimate video emerged, bright and hopeful. It created a deeper bond between my daughters and me as they got me, like no other interviewer before, to speak candidly and emotionally about all that is valuable about being a father.
This is a brilliant series idea by Arianna, which I am so glad to participate in.
Now, watch with kid gloves and please be gentle.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach