The Queen of My Self

September marks the beginning of the school year. And even if we have not attended classes in ages, we are still affected through our children and grand kids, as well as our own memories. 


Who doesn’t send off children anywhere without a pit in their stomachs?
By Iris Ruth Pastor


continued from Part 1, posted on Wednesday, September 13th…


Parents routinely ask college campus student affair administrators if their children will be safe walking home from the library late at night. What about the dangerous risks of binge drinking? Depression? Date-rape? Families who gave Irena Sendler their children only asked one question: What guarantee can you give us of our child’s safety? Irena’s answer: “I can promise you nothing, but that I will risk my life today trying.” Babies were tranquilized and stored in toolboxes under bricks in flatbed trucks leaving the ghetto, bound for a “safe” house. Older children were re-clothed and instructed to completely shed their past and internalize the information on the falsified documents they were handed.

I always worried that my kids, who had always approached studying and homework with underwhelming rigor, would feel overwhelmed their first semester at a university. My husband felt they could handle a full and demanding 17-18 hour course load. I argued for less, to spare them undue stress and ease their fears of “flunking out.” Parents living in the ghetto hoped to spare their kids stress too – only their stress was based on keeping their children from selections that led to deportation on trains headed for the death camps. Wealthy families who had managed to smuggle money with them paid as high as $15,000 per work permit for older children – who then had the “privilege” of toiling 17-18 hours per DAY in hard labor.

Of course, the Jews in the ghetto didn’t have to worry if their kids had the “right” wardrobe essentials for their leave taking: sports jerseys and caps with university logo, towel wraps, snow boots, backpack, texting gloves, fleece vests. Jews in the ghetto wore patched, ragged clothing with the Star of David for identification. No option dressing. Authorities warned that severe punishment – up to and including death by shooting – was in store for Jews who did not conform and wear the badge.

So even with keeping things “in perspective,” what can we do when:

  • Calls come about difficult roommates?
  • Calls come about a disappointingly low test grade?
  • Calls come about a run-in with a professor?
  • Calls come about a disappointing social-life?

What three actions can modern parents take to help their kids successfully thrive when away from the nest?

#1 We can act as our child’s coach, not rescuer.

#2 We can encourage them to take charge of their own experience – to seek out ways to solve their own problems using the resources available.

#3 We can praise them for their efforts to make the best of their situation and work to the best of their ability.

Yes, there are great perils “out there” now in 2017. And equipping our children to cope with our 21st Century reality is essential. But let’s keep in mind how lucky we are to have these concerns and not the ones the parents in the Warsaw ghetto faced during Hitler’s relentless reign of terror. Let’s hold sacred our good fortune.

Copyright © 2017 Iris Ruth Pastor, Writer and Speaker, All rights reserved.

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to

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