Your Children As Your Mirror



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    Your Children As Your Mirror

    Does this ever happen to you? “Yossi, make your bracha out loud!” you ask your five-year-old boy. “But Mommy,” he replies innocently, “you always make brachos quietly!” — A guide to children inspired self reflection • By Beis Moshiach Magazine • Full Article

    Yael Schneerson, Beis Moshiach

    A warm afternoon. You’re busy with hanging the laundry, your children are playing quietly in the next room, when suddenly you find yourself listening to their conversation and discover to your great embarrassment that they don’t think that Mommy davens.

    “Yossi, make your bracha out loud!” you ask your five-year-old boy. “But Mommy,” he replies innocently, “you always make brachos quietly!”

    And we’re not even talking about our adolescent children, in whom we identify all kinds of personal conduct that we really wouldn’t want them to adopt. Whether it’s a matter of stringently observing the laws of modesty, davening on time, or a variety of other things, large and small, when we make a proper cheshbon nefesh with ourselves, we suddenly reveal that…we aren’t better than they are. In other words, our children are our mirror. A mirror reflects our spiritual and Chassidic state to us with merciless devotion.

    So what do we do? Is it too late to save the situation? As Chassidim, we know that “s’iz nishto kein farfalen” (it’s never too late). If we contemplate on the matter, we will understand that G-d in His Infinite Mercy is sending us this mirror for us to look at and we will know what we have to correct, how we have to improve ourselves in order to uplift ourselves and our children. It’s always possible to correct things. We only need to take a deep breath, because the journey is a long one, daven for success, and get moving.

    If there are things that you can improve and manage to improve on your own, you are cordially invited to do so, together with the kids. It’s most important to share with them about the process you are going through, thereby making it easier for them to accept their own tumbles and difficulties. When you tell them that it’s hard for you as well, and you too (sometimes…) have a yetzer hara that keeps you from remembering to daven with kavana/saying brachos out loud/speaking softly – or anything else.

    [By the way, it will also help you to accept the long-term process that your children are going through when you remember that it’s not so simple for you either. So, why do we expect them to learn and internalize everything in a moment?]

    Furthermore, the road goes a lot easier when working together, and this is true both for you and for them. You can decide on some code as a means of reminding one another about a certain matter that you want to improve. This adds to an aura of “togetherness” and helps everyone tremendously in making necessary changes.

    You can even share more with the older children, and if it’s really hard for you on a specific issue, you can tell the older child: “Look, I know that this is something really important. While I would really like to be able to finish the whole Tehillim on Shabbos Mevorchim before davening (for example), it’s really hard for me because… (you can choose whether or not to give the reason). However, it’s important to me that you should understand that the fact that I don’t manage to meet this challenge doesn’t mean ch”v that this isn’t something important! It’s very important to me that you try to succeed in this matter more than me.”

    When all is said and done, we all know that serving as a living example is very important. However, even if you are unable to implement this in practical terms, the very fact that you convey to your children that you want to achieve this will help them in their desire to head in this direction – even if you’re not holding there yet.

    Of course, if you ch”v have adopted any other habit or custom that you wouldn’t want your children to emulate, make every possible effort to kick it – and right away!

    I recently read an article by a nutrition counselor. Among other things, she wrote: “You can’t tell your child that chocolate is unhealthy and you shouldn’t eat it, if the actual reason is that you want to save it for yourself to put in your evening cup of coffee. It’s not that it’s forbidden for you to want some chocolate every once in a while, however, if that’s the reason, don’t give your child a lecture about how unhealthy chocolate is…”

    If this is true in physical matters, it surely applies in the spiritual realm as well. And let’s not kid ourselves that the children “don’t see”, because even if they don’t see – they feel. And if we don’t convey the truth to them, how will they want to follow the path of truth?

    Yes, this is no easy task, but who said that life has to be easy?

    The Rebbe MH”M says: “You shouldn’t settle for the level that parents think should be sufficient for them, since it’s forbidden to forget that the state of one’s Judaism – when they reach middle age – is in most cases what’s left after falling from the level that their parents bestowed to them, which due to a variety of reasons is already lacking a part – and an important part – and if what parents today give their children is not with sufficient vitality and warmth, then also their children will be missing some part, and if so, what already will be left afterwards?

    “In particular, when we contemplate on how the young generation has great trials and difficulties in Yiddishkeit more than in the previous generation and those that preceded it, we therefore need a far greater arsenal, i.e., strengthening the connection to Torah and mitzvos, and much more than another one or two preceding generations” (Igros Kodesh, Vol. 8, pgs. 18-19).

    Thus, if we really want Chassidishe children connected to the Rebbe, we have to give them a much larger helping, far more than what we give ourselves. This way, a part of it will remain with our children.

    Hatzlacha raba to us all!

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