The excitement of watching our Talmidim and Talmidos returning to school, to their friends and to learning is to experience great joy and hope. The potential of what each individual and the totality of our 595 elementary and early childhood students can accomplish this year is limitless. No matter what stresses and difficulties you endure to enable your children to receive a quality Torah and secular education, and these days all parents of Yeshiva students are heroes, it is all worth it when you realize your children are being plugged into eternity and into a world of higher values and greater humanity.
We may feel the foundations of the world around us shaking a bit. The political stability that has been the bedrock quality that has always set the United States apart from and above the rest of the world is teetering. The balance of power in the world is shifting, to our detriment. Moral decay continues unabated and the values of modern society can only drag us down from the lofty potential every human being has. Our children are growing up in a world quite unlike any of us experienced. Old methods of raising children, and expectations that no matter what, “they’ll turn out fine, eventually,” no longer hold true. What can we provide our children with, to assure their future?
For us, the priceless legacy of Torah Judaism is the greatest gift we give to our children. While we experience the inevitable bumps in the road as our children acclimate to new teachers, classmates and expectations, we the parents need to keep our eye on the big picture. The timeless values of honesty, compassion and responsibility coupled with respect and love for being a Torah Jew is ultimately what our day to day work is all about.
An athlete in training considers a scraped knee and sore shoulder part of a day’s work, part of the process of reaching for greater performance and greater accomplishment. We need to help our children see a less than perfect test score, or even a redirection from a teacher as part of the learning process. The parents’ and teachers’ job is to focus on developing our children’s resilience and ongoing motivation to do what may sometimes be hard or less than fun. By helping a child appreciate small gains and incremental successes, we will be doing them a great favor.
May this and every Shabbos be filled with the sounds of eager children excitedly and happily relating what they learned and experienced in the past week.
Have a wonderful Shabbos,
Rabbi Kalman Baumann
Yeshiva Toras Chaim Toras Emes