We want Mashiach now, we want Mashiach now… we don’t wanna wait!”
Did you know Mashiach is ready to come but he’s waiting for Klal Yisrael to give him the go-ahead, through our mitzvos and maasim tovim?
In this feature, we bring you some novel projects for elementary-aged children, initiated so that the lyrics of the song will very soon be changed to… “We have Mashiach now, we don’t have to wait!”
Watch Your Words
What do you want to be when you grow up? If it’s a police officer, you’re not alone. Thousands of children go to sleep dreaming of sitting behind the wheel of a wailing police car, speeding and skipping red lights, catching bad guys. You’re still too young to join the actual police force, but you are old enough to join a spiritual police force, one that gets you points, prizes, and mitzvos just for being a member.
Established 14 years ago, Shomrei Halashon, run by the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation (CCHF), is a program targeting the power of speech, teaching children how to guard their tongues. Students learn the halachos of shemiras halashon in a crystal-clear fashion. The program is implemented daily by teachers, with every member a “police officer,” with his own police identity card. As the child learns new halachos, he or she moves up in the ranks of the police force.
At the start of the year, the children learn a theme song. In addition, the children undertake a machsom l’fi, a time slot during which they are extra careful with their words. Before recess, they sing the Chofetz Chaim’s tefillah al dibbur so they go out to play in the right frame of mind, ready to conquer their yetzer hara.
The children police themselves; if they kept their machsom l’fi properly, they add checks to their score card. Accumulated points are rewarded with nosh and prizes, including a monthly raffle that boasts grand prizes as fun as a chocolate fountain. A well-deserved treat for the well-guarded tongue!
Shomrei Halashon has two school liaisons who travel across the country to touch base with the participating schools and gather first-hand feedback. One particularly inspiring feedback was at a school where the fourth-grade class was participating in the Shomrei Halashon program, while the fifth grade was not. After a class argument during recess, the rebbi overheard his fifth-grade student telling his fourth-grade brother, “You’re so lucky you’re learning shemiras halashon because you and your whole class know what you’re allowed and not allowed to say and the argument we had today would never have happened in your class.”
The police often say to local communities, “Be our eyes and ears!” because they can’t possibly be everywhere. Shomrei Halashon can’t be everywhere, either, but be a good police officer for yourself, be your own eyes and ears, and you’ll feel great knowing you’ve hurt one person less today. Now, there’s a good Yiddishe “kop”!