Do It All the Time – A poem for Parsha Shoftim (Aliyah 4)

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When you have come to the land your God, is giving you, you shall not learn to do like the abominations of those nations.

Deuteronomy 18:9

The song says do the right thing,
do the right thing, do it all the time

and this is what I tell my son in
almost every situation.

He’s at that age where it’s becoming
a necessity to say these words.

As he gets older and taller
(He’s already taller than our

family scientists thought possible.)
he’s earned the ability to

walk out the front door as
his whims may direct him.

Just the other day he went for a walk
with a red-haired girl he knows from school

who happens to live in our neighborhood.
So that kind of thing is happening now.

He’s the kind of boy who absolutely
knows the right thing to do

but occasionally he misses the mark
and we realize he’s playing on a field

we didn’t know he knew existed.
So out the door he goes and we tell him

to do the right thing. Actually, we’re
a lot more specific but those details

are between him and us.
Like God told the ancient Israelites

we hope we’ve taught him how to
recognize an abomination, and that he’ll

resist its temptations as he walks
on the streets of our promised neighborhood.

God knows I’ve struggled with this and my parents
weren’t on hand to quote an inspirational song.

Doing anything all the time is a struggle,
and I was never as tall as he’s going to be.

These poems are offered free for your enjoyment. If you use them as part of an event, meeting, educational or liturgical setting, please consider tipping the author.

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