Searching For More Nekudos Tovos
Beginning again on my birthday, the Sudilkover Rebbe recommended that I start another 40-day plan to work on being able to see the nekudos tovos in my children. This time the Rebbe told me to use only two columns for each day's entry: one column for my children's nekudos tovos, and one column for recording what I did well that day in my dealings with them.
After 20 days, I found that I was continually writing the same things and begining to question whether I was making any progress. I then called the Rebbe to speak to him about this issue. The Rebbe responded that it was certainly alright for me to record the same nekudos tovos, however, the main point of my exercise was to identify new nekudos tovos in my children each day; even if these nekudos tovos were the very simplest things or occured during times when their behavior was less than stellar.
On day 25, I came across an amazing teaching in Kitzur Likutey Moharan #59 that helped me during these times when my children misbehaved and my blood began to boil. In this lesson, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught that when a person begins to grow angry he should know that at that very moment some sum of money is being channeled down to him from above and his yetzer hara is attempting to spoil this influx of wealth and not allow it to reach its destination.
Having this new understanding of the dynamics of what was happening behind the scenes, I found that I could control my anger more often than naught. Additionaly, without the mochin d'katnus that goes hand in hand with anger, I was able identify new nekudos tovos in my children with more ease.
Looking back at these 40 days, I reached some conclusions about the efficacy of the 40 day plan. Firstly, taking on this type of avoda simply focused me to continually desire to achieve the goal I set for myself. It put me in a mindset where I would begin idenfifying nekudos tovos in my children the second I saw them each day. During each Shachris, Mincha, and Maariv, I would also daven that Hashem open my eyes and allow me to see my children's nekudos tovos shining in front of me anew; that I deal with them with more rachmanus and less gevura.
I am convinced that Hashem sends a person tailored advice on how to proceed and be successful once he begins to work on himself for 40 days. This advice might come through a conversation with another person, a sight a person sees, or through opening a sefer and learning a new concept that is immediately relevant to his circumstances. A person will definitely not attain perfection, however, he certainly will take a few steps forward towards the person he strives to be.