“I Wish You Bad Luck!” And a Very Happy Chanukah!! 🕎

children family therapy parenting therapy Jan 11, 2022

One of my most enjoyable hours of the week is on Thursdays at 11:30am, when I meet with my esteemed supervisor, Dr. Norman Blumenthal, and my close colleagues (read: friends!), Dr. Shoshana Friedman, and Devorah Follman LCSW. This is a supervision group.  It’s an opportunity to learn, to ensure that we therapists are not blinded by our own blindspots, to gain self awareness and enhance our skills. As an attempt to sound professional, I’m not going to admit to how much laughing is done in the group. 

One week, Dr. Blumenthal referenced a well known video clip that I believe you will enjoy: Chief Justice Roberts speaking at his son’s graduation (it’s about 13 minutes if you skip the introduction).

What I specifically loved about this video is the advice to the boys.  Remember, this is from one of the smartest, most successful men in the country.  His advice to these graduates is so down to earth, real, and relevant. I loved it! A part of me wants to sum it all up for you right here, but a bigger part of me wants to encourage you to watch it. 

To quote the blessing he gave to the graduates (the advice you will have to watch (or read, if you prefer) at the link provided at the end :)

Chief Justice Roberts: “…Now the commencement speakers will typically also wish you good luck and extend good wishes to you. I will not do that, and I’ll tell you why. From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time, so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion…”


This is an amazing road map, a great approach for how to understand and grow from difficult situations. These unfortunate circumstances provide real life opportunities to develop the ability to forgive, to move forward, to communicate our feelings, deepen our relationships and develop empathy and compassion (compassion is “empathy in action”), to be resilient and push through the hard times.  

Then, Roberts drove home another important point, one I hope my kids hear me say:

“Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.”

My father often repeats the following Brisker Vort:  On Chanukah, in [the prayer of] Al Hanisim, we thank Hashem [G-d] for: The Miracles, and for the Salvations, and for the Mighty Deeds, and for the Victories, for the Wonders, for the Consolations and for the Wars….

I understand why we are thankful for most.  But, why are we thankful for the wars?  

The answer: Wars give us opportunities for transformations. By fighting wars, we learn courage. We develop passion. We identify what is worth fighting for. We become determined to keep our values. We learn survival techniques. We learn faith. We learn determination. We learn loyalty. We learn kindness. The process of Fighting Wars teaches us what Peace can’t. And for that, we are thankful. 

All of us, each one of us, fights daily wars. Some wars are bigger than others. Some wars are internal. Some of us are fighting illness. Some are fighting to make a living. Some are fighting to get married, some are fighting our past, our addictions, our traumas, our own thoughts processes. Some are fighting jelly donuts.    

Take a few minutes and watch/read this clip with your fam. Age 10 and up will gain from this.  

CLICK HERE! for Chief Justice Robert’s full graduation speech.

Wishing everyone a beautiful Chanukah!

… and the strength to fight! 

(Except at your family parties).




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