This past Shabbat we read in the Torah how Yosef was thrown into a dark well by his own brothers. They did so out of jealousy and hatred and thought that what they were doing was just.
Something that must be taught to our kids is that they have power. I remember as a soldier being greeted at the bus stops by small kids passing out treats and thank you blessings to all of my unit. The power that had on us strengthened us greatly.
When a kid hears from his parents that they have power, you give them the feeling that they are big, something they all want. Through last week’s Torah portion, we can teach our children that there are many people in a dark place just like Yosef. They might be someone who feels alone at school, or someone who is in a wheelchair, or someone who is elderly. There are many people who feel like they are in a lone dark cave, with no way out.
Our job as parents is to instill within our kids through a positive example that we can act as the shamash candle of the Chanukah Menorah and bring light to all those in the dark.
It’s now the first night of Chanukah. This year one of the insights that I learned was more of the history between the Greeks that were both in Syria, and Egypt during that time period. They both were at war with each other to dominate the region. The Syrian Greeks were led by Antiochus (the main evil leader of the Greeks who set out against the Jews), fearing the Egyptian Greeks would invade north, and a possible invasion by the growing Roman empire from the coast, Antiochus set his army in the land of Israel, where he came eye to eye with a people who wouldn’t trade their traditions for anything in the world. The Greeks wanted us to leave everything having to do with Judaism and become like them. Chanukah comes from the Hebrew word Chinuch, which means education. It’s our job as dad’s to educate ourselves about the meaning behind our traditions and pass it on to our little candles at home.
Something cool you can do with your kids is try playing with Google Maps and show them where Israel, Syria, Egypt, Greece and Rome are. Then explain to them the dynamics of the story using what I explained above. Happy Chanukah
The drive back home from work can be tough. You just put in a full load of work, trying to do your best and helping everyone along the way. But now comes the most important shift of the day, time at home. Your little ones are waiting for you, it’s not that simple because you too are a human, with an above human responsibility, to raise your kids happily within Judaism in a difficult world.
As you pull in to the drive way, the exhaustion you feel can be overwhelming. What can give us that push that we need for the last 3-4 hours of the day before they go to bed and to make it a pleasurable afternoon and early evening?
I felt this myself, after a full day of teaching and didn’t have the right attitude coming home. Then I remembered a few principles of success that I learned in my NLP course and from Torah studies:
Make a success journal and be committed to filling it in everyday with every positive action you took from the day. Start with 5 things a day and be consistent. By writing down the positive things you did throughout the day, it puts us in a better mood and we are focused on seeing the good in ourselves. That gives us the attitude we need to handle it all at the house.
Parenting is not the easiest thing by far. I mean it’s got its ups and downs, and tears. Of joy and grief. We can’t predict the night, the morning, the day at the kindergarden, or school. We don’t know how the come back to home will go, or how the vibe in the house will be.
In short, we have a lot of work to do on ourselves, to improve our character, to soften our hearts and connect our hearts. With all the challenges, turn to Hashem (The Name) – G-d. He is there in the ups and downs and wants us to turn to Him through it all. Hope this song gives you a much deserved boost. Love always- David at Jewish Dad Today.
A person at his most basic part is dust, but what gives him life is the spirit of Hashem. Without that- we are just dust. What gives us meaning is to find Him in this world of dust. That also means asking ourselves, what are we doing as parents, why are we parents and where are we heading. Amidst all the headaches of laundry, dishes, cleaning, and day to day- let’s stop and ask, why and what for, and for who? Stopping to take a few minutes and ask this question can I think realign us to our true purpose.
For parents with young kids realize that you will only get these years once. The effect they have on our children molds and shapes them for the rest of their life. How many times can we trace back memories of regret, low self-esteem only to regret them today? If we want our kids going in the right path, we have to build them up. That means even accepting their faults (it doesn’t mean not ignoring them) but not overreacting with outrageous punishments that don’t really hold up or change behavior. If we want to be the dominate influence and help our kids make it, let’s be there truly for them. I know parents who shut their cell phones off as soon as they get home until their kids are asleep. Let’s try being there, fully, for them.
Kids that are erupting and attacking their siblings, parents etc. are frustrated. If you want to change the problems in the home, stop trying to teach a lesson in the moment of stress but rather, go deeper and repair the connection.
Children go through so much frustration from the minute they get up and it’s not easy from that point until they go to sleep. Think about how many challenges we as adults have, imagine how many a kid has especially when they can’t seem things logically from such an early age. The main point is that we have to expect that our kids will have that frustration, but how do we keep the connection alive. When they are acting up, can you just change the topic, can you leave the lesson teaching at the moment and just give a hug? What can you do to just weather the situation and wait for a better time to teach? Just keep the connection alive.