Erev Shabbos Parashas Ha’azinu, Erev Sukkos 5773
As parents and educators, we are always looking for the best Chinuch approach to any situation involving our children, rather than just getting through the situation. In trying to determine the best approach, we look to examples of what works with children, what motivates them and what guides them.
We just observed Yom Kippur, which arguably provides us with the perfect Chinuch scenario which should be analyzed for application in other areas. Is there any Mitzva-observing family anywhere and anytime, that had a difficulty with getting an almost Bar or Bas Mitzva aged child to fast on Yom Kippur? And this, despite it being something that is extremely hard to do?! Why is this so? Consider the following:
1. Fasting is clearly important to the significant adults in the child’s life.
2. Parents talk about Yom Kippur in anticipation, and reliably follow through with fasting themselves, 100% of the time, setting a positive, consistent example.
3. The child perceives fasting as a “Chashuve” important thing to do, enhancing his self-image as a grown-up person.
4. The child’s peer-group is fasting, or anticipating fasting, as well.
There are many conclusions to draw from this analysis. Let me share just a few.
1. Children will emulate their parents, the most significant people in their lives, if they perceive something is really important to the parents. Parents demonstrate that importance by their actions, not their words.
2. If parents follow through on promises and plans by role-modeling what they speak about (they` walk the walk’, not just `talk the talk’) children will do the same.
3. Children want to do what’s right, and they will follow through on those things that they feel make them significant. Imagine if kindness, academic success and being responsible for one self were presented with the same seriousness and commitment as Yom Kippur is.
4. Who your children’s friends are (in general), is of paramount importance.
Enjoy your family time over Sukkos, and find the opportunity to discuss these or similar ideas with your children. I think you’ll find them agreeing, and providing much more insight, to help you help them become the individuals you yearn so eagerly for them to become.
Have a wonderful Shabbos and a Simcha and Nachas-filled Chag,
Rabbi Kalman Baumann