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GOOD MORNING! Years ago my 6 year old son was late for dinner. After a half hour frantically calling the neighbors in the building with kids his age, I located him and got him on the phone. Frustrated with anxiety and concern and upset with his lateness, I angrily asked, "Do you know what time it is?" After a moment of silence, I hear his small voice asking the parents of his friend, "Excuse me, my father wants to know the time." I immediately realized that my anger did not communicate and had no effect; it was the wrong time and the wrong manner to get through to this child.
I believe that every child gives a parent the opportunity to work on and improve one (or more) of his own character traits. Being a parent can be trying, but the rewards are great. Small children, small problems; big children, big problems. Small children, small opportunities; big children, big opportunities. It is the only job that by the time you're trained ... you're out of a job. Here is an interesting piece from "Quote Magazine" (September 1, 1985) about what children want from parents. They surveyed children 8 to 14 years old in 24 countries. Here are the top 10 wanted behaviors:
WHAT CHILDREN WANT
- They want harmony. Their parents should not have unresolved and destructive conflict in front of them.
- They want love. They wish to be treated with the same affection as other children in the family.
- They want honesty. They do not want to be lied to.
- They want acceptance. They desire mutual tolerance from both parents.
- They want their parents to like their friends. They want their friends to be welcomed in the home.
- They want closeness. They desire comradeship with their parents.
- They want their parents to pay attention to them and answer their questions.
- They want consideration from their parents - not to be embarrassed or punished in front of friends.
- They want positive support - for parents to concentrate on their good points rather than their weaknesses.
- They want consistency. They desire parents to be consistent in their affections and moods.
It appears that these children want what all of us want - respect, consideration and love. They are excellent traits to practice, not only with our children, but with anyone! It has been said that a parent only owes his child three things: example, example and example. Perhaps the following piece will give some insight into what kids learn from us:
IF A CHILD LIVES
If a child lives with criticism ...
he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility ...
he learns to fight.
If a child lives with fear ...
he learns to be apprehensive.
If a child lives with jealousy ...
he learns to feel guilt.
If a child lives with tolerance ...
he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement ...
he learns to be confident.
If a child lives with praise ...
he learns to be appreciative.
If a child lives with acceptance ...
he learns to love.
If a child lives with approval ...
he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with recognition ...
he learns that it is good to have a goal.
If a child lives with honesty ....
he learns what truth is.
If a child lives with fairness ...
he learns justice.
If a child lives with security ...
he learns to trust in himself and others.
If a child lives with friendliness ...
he learns the world is a nice place in which to live.
What is your child living with?
Torah Portion of the Week
This week's portion tells a story often repeated throughout history: The Jews become prominent and numerous. There arises a new king in Egypt "who did not know Joseph" (meaning he chose not to know Joseph or recognize any debt of gratitude). He proclaims slavery for the Jewish people "lest they may increase so much, that if there is war, they will join our enemies and fight against us, driving (us) from the land." (Anti-Semitism can thrive on any excuse; it need not be logical or real - check out our online seminar "Why the Jews?" at http://www.aish.com/seminars/whythejews/index.htm. It's spectacular!)
Moshe (Moses) is born and immediately hidden because of the decree to kill all male Jewish babies. Moses is saved by Pharaoh's daughter, grows up in the royal household, goes out to see the plight of his fellow Jews. He kills an Egyptian who was beating a Jew, escapes to Midian when the deed becomes known, becomes a shepherd, and then is commanded by God at the Burning Bush to "bring My people out of Egypt." Moses returns to Egypt, confronts Pharaoh who refuses to give permission for the Israelites to leave. And then God says, "Now you will begin to see what I will do to Pharaoh!"
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"And the King of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one was Shifrah and the name of the second was Puah." (Exodus 1:15)
Rashi, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki, an eleventh century French commentator, informs us that Shifrah was a second name for Yocheved, Moses' mother. She was called Shifrah because she did things for the betterment (the meaning of the Hebrew word "Shifrah" is to "make better") of the infants in her care. Puah was another name for Miriam, Moses' sister. She was called Puah because of the comforting sounds ("poo, poo...") she would make to the infants as mothers do to calm a crying baby. Why, however, does the Torah give a second name?
Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz, a Torah luminary who taught in the Mir Yeshiva, comments that when the Torah calls someone by a certain name it is because that name represents the essence of the person. The fact that Yocheved and Miriam were called by names that show how they helped the infants both physically and emotionally, means that this was an integral part of their very being. We see from here that what might appear to be minor actions can be part of an elevated level that will comprise the entire person.
When you experience love and compassion for others, you are emulating the attributes of the Almighty. The greater your act of kindness, the more elevated you become. A child who experiences warmth and love grows up to be a more loving person. This early conditioning will have life-long positive effects. Such a child will find it much easier to feel love for the Almighty and love for his fellow man. Whenever you make a young child feel good, be aware of the extent of your kindness. The deeper your appreciation for the chesed (kindness) you are doing, the more elevated you become!
PIRKEI AVOT 2:20
"The day is short, and the work is abundant and the workers are lazy; the reward is great and the Master is insistent."
-- Rabbi Tarfon
CANDLE LIGHTING - December 26:
(or go to http://aish.com/candlelighting)
Guatemala 5:22 Hong Kong 5:29 Honolulu 5:38
J'Burg 6:42 London 3:39 Los Angeles 4:32
Melbourne 8:21 Miami 5:20 Moscow 3:46
New York 4:18 Singapore 6:50
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
A mother's heart is a child's classroom.