Raising Religious & Resilient Children – Part 5

There was a young mother who began teaching adult women. She asked a number of Rabanim what her teaching focus should be. The unanimous response was that she should reach the heart, not just the mind. She should also attempt to incorporate Chasidut into her teachings as this will help expand the heart of the listener.

Quite often, when a person learns the deeper meaning behind a mitzvah – the ritual then has the power to transform the habitual into the holy. For example: Chanukah is a time where one can access the hidden light of Creation, to sit by the candles and meditate on his neshamah, which is referred to as “a candle of Hashem.” On a deeper level, the Purim Feast is where the King (Hashem) asks “Esther,” the hidden part of us, what we desire, and He will fulfill that request.

Children who are raised learning deeper Torah insights will find their religious practices more meaningful. Over time, these youngsters will realize that this kind of Torah lifestyle is more profoundly satisfying than the fleeting fun of technology. As they grow older, they will seek out more experiences that respond to the yearning of their souls, as they look for purpose and value in their lives.

As a lecturer, I come across the same challenge every year: how do I foster a student’s personal growth when her home is not a growth-oriented environment?

I can try to teach the women that Pesach night is a powerful time for tefilah. The Seder has eighteen berachot that directly correspond to the daily Shemonah Esrei prayer. Therefore, it is important to avoid extraneous conversation during the Seder. However, these women tell me that their Seder experience is focused on how quickly they could get through Hagadah. Why?

So that they will here will be more time to socialize with the extended family members who join. Many of these women think that if they try to add some spirituality to Seder night, they will be met with opposition from the other family members.

Parents don’t realize that they have the power to instantly destroy their own finely-built families, just as a tall building can be demolished with the push of a button. When a child comes home wide-eyed with excitement about Judaism, parents who express even one word of sarcasm have begun to demolish their own educational foundation.

Read Part 6 For More Insights