Son teaches mom the ropes

Elizabeth Hersh is Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel (TE), and a blogger on the Jewish Light’s website (

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

Earlier this month, my son and I went zip lining in Creve Coeur Park. I had no idea what this entailed but happily said “yes” to the proposition when I learned that an adult needed to accompany someone of his age. I thought, like the name implied, we would swing on ropes from one point to another. I didn’t give any thought to the idea of how we would get to the original destination.

Did you know you need to walk across swinging planks? There were times we needed to gently place a foot through a hoop that never stopped moving. And this happened again and again and again. Regarding the actual zip lining, I landed on my feet 20 percent of the time.

I learned very quickly and adroitly how to stay attached at all times to the cables, mostly thanks to my son who did it for me the first several times. I was also filled with humility as I watched my 11-year-old go through the ropes with tremendous self-confidence and skill. I was proud that I never cried.

I understand these experiences are utilized for group bonding. I was personally celebrating the bonding process with my son who easily had become the teacher and I the pupil. I stood in amazement at the ease in which he climbed, swung and had no fear. He was adept and swift. I, on the other hand, moved tentatively and with a modicum of fear. While hanging from a tree that weekend, I was in awe at the young man he was become, confident in his skills and ability to teach me to overcome a challenge. This was truly a bonding moment with reverberations to last.