It’s the time of year when we celebrate our family members who have graduated…kindergarten through grad schools and beyond. For extended family, it’s a great reason to get together and celebrate…but for parents, it’s a time for what can only be best expressed in Yiddish:
. To kvell means to simply want to explode with pride over someone…especially your kid…regarding something they accomplished.
Although I don’t have any graduates this year, I’m kvelling pretty hard right now over my oldest, Jacob, who’s Bar Mitzvah we celebrated last weekend. For those who don’t know what one is, a Bar Mitzvah is…at its simplest…the day when a Jewish boy turns 13 (plus one day) and therefore is now considered to legally be an adult in terms of fulfilling religious obligations [FYI: for girls it’s 12 years plus one day when they become Bat Mitzvah].
At face value, it doesnt seem like such a big deal. In this country, we generally don’t throw parties when kids reach majority at age 18…though if we did, perhaps people would take voting and other hard-fought rights more seriously.
But for Jewish people, it’s a cause for great celebration. For the 12 or 13 year old, it’s a rite of passage…a vision quest…only instead of going out alone in the wilderness to find your purpose…you are surrounded…smothered?…by family and friends…who
you your purpose while squishing you and planting mushy kisses on your cheek.
Many kids are expected to prepare a segment of the weekly Torah reading to recite in front of the crowd and make a speech that ties in the message of that portion to what they have learned in their decade-plus years of experience [sarcasm] and the direction they would like their life to take.
Having run the gauntlet myself a few decades ago, I can tell you that it can be a pretty stressful experience. Kids feel like there are high expectations they have to meet: their parents often throw big parties…a lot of guests show up to watch you…it’s a solo performance… so you cant just silently mouth the word “watermelon” at the back of the choir like you usually do…it’s all you.
I have to say that my son knocked it out of the park. He rocked it, hard. Calm, collected…even smiling through it…just, awesome. My heart wanted to explode right then and there. I’m still kinda in the stratosphere…gradually making my way back down…like Alan Eustace from his balloon…that’s how proud I am of that kid.
Which brings us to today’s topic: Pride.
Like many words in English, pride has 2 meanings. The bad, an inflated sense of yourself. The good, kvelling. King Solomon tells us in Proverbs (Mishle), chapter 16, verse 18:
It’s a great warning…and we’ve all witnessed this in action…sometimes in others, sometimes in us. Some biblical passages require a lot of parsing and exegesis…this one is pretty straightforward.
[Dr Rosen…must we keep reminding you that this is supposed to be VEIN Blog…where do veins come in exactly?!]
Patience, grasshopper. In my dojo, you need to go through a bit of “wax on/wax off, paint the fence” before you get the payoff…
The first visit I have with new patients is a consultation. During this hour-long appointment, I do a pretty thorough medical history, work to diagnose a patient’s problem and help to create a treatment plan tailored to the patient’s needs and wants.
At the heart of that treatment plan is the patient’s own goals. I am a firm believer that the patient is the President of their body. As an advisor, I can make the best recommendations possible, but ultimately the patient has to make the decisions for themself. Just so you know, that should be your experience with EVERY doctor you see…or find another doctor! [
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I beat around the bush a lot less in person than in this blogosphere. I typically just ask the patient what her/his goals are. Just about every time, the patient prefaces their statement by saying something like, “I know it’s
…ha-ha…no pun intended…but aside from the discomfort, I really dont like how these varicose/spider veins look…”
Each and every time, I tell the patients that this is not about vanity. It’s not about Pride. It’s not a sin to want your legs to feel and look better!
People are just confusing Pride with Kvelling.
During my consultations, I spend a great deal of time teaching about vein disease and the treatment solutions I offer. Patients learn that often the spider veins and varicose veins we see at the surface are just the tip of the Goldberg…sorry, still in Bar Mitzvah mode…iceberg…and there may be signficant issues in underlying superficial vein branches that need to be addressed. I teach patients that being proactive about treating such issues may help prevent more signficant consequences in the long run.
Knowledge is power, as they say
The “they” who said it best, IMHO, was again, King Solomon…in just a few sentences before the last quote…this one is verse 16:
I try my best, in this blog and in person, to help my patients understand this: You don’t need any better reason to justify treating your varicose and spider veins other than wanting to feel better about you…to have legs that feel great and look better than they have in years.
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