Raising Religious & Resilient Children – Part 3

Rabbi Matityahu Salomon suggests that the mitzvah of chinuch may fall under the larger header of loving Hashem. When parents are full of love for Hashem and His Torah, they want others to feel the same way. This type of chinuch is not reduced to a list of “do’s and don’ts,” but is rather a beautiful experience of love.

Ask yourself the following questions: do I my children grumble the words, ‘Uch! I have to bentch now!’ Or do I hear them saying, ‘Mommy, I can’t wait for Shabat!.’”

When your children hear you say things like, “Baruch Hashem that I have the special opportunity to thank Hashem for the wonderful food that I just enjoyed,” they will learn from you what it means to love Torah. We can’t possibly expect our children to love Hashem and keep the mitzvot simply because we tell them to do so. Chinuch begins with parents deepening their own relationship with Hashem, making it real, and sharing that enthusiasm with their children.

Parents should not convey a “do as I say, but not as I do” attitude towards observance of mitzvot. A father who talks throughout davening and uses the shul as a forum for socializing, cannot rebuke his sons for talking in shul. Remember that our actions speak louder than words and our feelings speak louder than our actions.

Rabbi David Kaplan, a senior lecturer at Ohr Somayach in Yerushalayim, told a story of a boy who went off the derech. The boy told the Rabbi the following: “Rabbi, the straw that broke the camel’s back was when my neighbor bought a new car. My father always spoke to me about how much he loved Torah and how excited it made him feel. But, when I saw my father’s reaction to our neighbor’s new car, I saw what really excited my father. It wasn’t Torah. It was the fancy car.” Children need to witness their parents’ genuine love for Yahadut.

Read Part 4 For More Insghts