Henny Elishevitz, Beis Moshiach
In this Coronavirus era, we are spending a lot more time with our children than we usually would, and its not such a bad thing. But it does mean that if being a dugma chaya (setting a good example) was always important, how much more so now when we don’t have the liberty to convince ourselves that they don’t see us in our weaker moments…
Our children, hopefully, get to see visuals they ususally see less of. Like Tatty davening and learning at home, or Mommy saying Chitas, and these are priceless opportunities of chinuch to show our children what a Jewish home should look like on the inside.
I’d like to offer some advice on how to make these images have an even more powerful impact on our children’s young minds and souls.
The Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach compared our role in the world in general, and on shlichus in particular, to a merchant running a business:
If we feel like hired employees in a business, we will do the minimum/maximum (in accordance with the feeling of our conscience…) that we are obligated to do during “work hours”, and then – we lock up the store and happily move on to our private lives…
However, if we feel like business owners – there are no “off hours.” Day and night, at home or on the road, our head is in the business as we consider various approaches for bringing more and more customers, making the business more attractive and profitable.
As parents, we are essentially comparable to that merchant: We are interested in marketing “our product” to our children, i.e., Torah, mitzvos, the path of Chassidus, proper Jewish values. Thus, if we remember that in this “market”, as in any market, the merchant needs to cause the potential customer to want to buy his merchandise, this will make it easier for us, G-d willing, to deal with the challenges that work in education places upon us.
In this article, we will try to follow the ways of the businessman and implement them in our parenting.
A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS
Anyone who work in advertising knows that people don’t even bother to stop to read an advertisement filled with text and explanations, as convincing as they may be. So, how do we market our products? A good picture will do the job for us, arousing curiosity, and then we look into possible catchphrases: something short, focused, and from the world of the potential buyer.
Even in education – the “picture” is the example we set in our individual daily lives, stories and videos of the Rebbe, Chassidic personalities that the child sees and learns about, etc.
Yet, what we sometimes don’t notice is that even a significant date on the Jewish calendar can be the “visual.” However, a picture without words is not effective enough, and therefore, we must apply the three-step approach I’ve discussed before (in Issue #1207 – “How to raise grateful creatures?”) – Initiate, Expose, Be Clear:
Initiate – find opportunities to show the children good and holy visuals.
Exposure – After initiating the “visual,” make sure to put the message of the “picture” into words, briefly telling what’s happening around us and the opportunities concealed therein. (Example: Tatty is still wearing his tallis this late because davening is very important to him and it helps him strengthen his connection to Hashem. Thus, he davens at length, and this is called being an “oveid.”) Of course, the text shouldn’t be too long, and should be close to the child’s world, suited to his abilities and his areas of interest. Now, let him be interested, ask questions, try to understand. There’s no need to elaborate on the tremendous value of things that the child acquires in such a manner.
Sharpness – find a very brief phrase, connected to the child’s abilities according to age, understanding, etc. Naturally, the purpose is to make an impression upon the soul. Something with a clear and unambiguous message. On Pesach, you have perhaps used “No matzah in the kitchen!” to inculcate into our children our minhag regarding gebrokts, etc.
Have you ever gone into a store, and the saleslady clings to you as she tries to convince you with a flood of words that it would be appropriate to buy a certain item? Have you ever tried to get her off your back?
Let’s try not to cause our children to feel that way…
In summation, a picture is worth a thousand words, but it sometimes needs a caption (of no longer than seven words). Our children now see hundreds of images of their parents,
Let’s make sure they’re good ones and explain them briefly.
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