Everyone is breathing a sigh of relief, as the summer brings a change of pace, a more relaxed environment and freedom from the pressures of school and homework. We humans need the variations in our routine every now and then, to keep us going in the right direction.
A question we should be asking is – what should school and homework be replaced with? After a few days of luxuriating in the absence of responsibility, what should we and our children be doing? Camp is certainly the obvious answer, but I would like to suggest, it is only part of the answer.
Camp offers a break from school routines and work. It brings out different skills and talents in children and that is its value. However, there is another dimension to a person, and that is – being a member of a family. Children develop into healthy, well-adjusted adults most assuredly when they have grown up in a healthy, positive family environment. No amount of programming or outside expertise can take the place of a good solid, family life.
Parents need to realize how important and central their role is in their children’s development. Good schools, good communities, good neighbors provide support, but ultimately, it is the family from where the real person emerges. We can delegate much of our children’s upbringing to nannies, teachers, therapists and good-hearted friends, but at some point in the summer months, the buck needs to stop with the parents.
Don’t be frightened – be energized at the opportunity! Your children need you! They need your attention, your time, your focus. If at all possible, go on a family trip. The family trip, dreaded by some and studiously avoided by others nevertheless provides a unique opportunity for real bonding. When viewed in light of the opportunities a few days together with no one else but family can provide, you may rethink your opinion of such a venture.
Our children live in a world of overwhelmingly negative outside influences. The chances of their feeling a real sense of belonging to a small outpost in that vast sea of contrary values, is much greater in the family, than in school or a shul or an organization. The value that a close knit family offers a developing child is so great, that no parent can afford to ignore or dismiss its unparalleled power. If your circumstances at all allow you to nurture it and strengthen it, you simply cannot afford to fail to invest in your family.At school, our mission in joining with you in developing your children into the wo
nderful adults they can become is on pause. We encourage you to pick up at this point of accomplishment and satisfaction from a year of effort and growth, and nurture your treasure as only a parent can. With tefillos to Hashem, effort and focus, you’ll be amazed at what can be accomplished.
Have a wonderful Shabbos and an outstanding family-focused summer,
Rabbi Kalman Baumann
P.S. – Traveling to Eretz Yisrael is part of my wife’s and my summer plans, IY’H. When we visit the Mekomos HaKedoshim, it would be a privilege to say some Tefilos for our precious talmidim and talmidos. Feel free to email me the full Hebrew name of your children at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you