19 Tamuz 5779 / Monday, July 22, 2019 | Torah Reading: mattot
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Don't Blame the Kids    

Don't Blame the Kids

Normally problems occur when we steer off the path that Hashem really intended for us. In simpler terms, our children reflect the areas we need to work on...


Rav Yehuda Tzadka of blessed memory would say,


“Every Jew needs to ask himself: How will I go up to my Father in Heaven, and my son is not with me?”


Rav Arush brings in his Hebrew book "Successful Children" (not yet translated into English) that as soon our children are born, we need to open an account for them. But he doesn’t mean a bank account, he means a prayer account! In his book, he dedicates nearly a third of the pages to teach his followers that raising successful children takes PRAYER, and loads of it. The emuna approach, namely prayer, self-assessment and self-improvement bring Hashem into the equation and leave us with with the results we are looking for.




There is a story that we should all take to heart that relates to the issue of when should we be content with our prayers for our children. The Steipler Rav of blessed memory once shared that even in his later years he would pray and pour tears for his little Chaim. That little Chaim is known today in Israel and throughout the world as one of the generation’s greatest leader in Judaism, Rabbi Chaim Kanievski shlit'a! So we learn that even if our children were to rise up to the heights of holiness as this great Rabbinical figure did, it would certainly be encouraged to continue praying for them just as his father did for him! How much more so for us, who are just starting to live our lives with Emuna.  We must at all cost focus our prayers on our children amidst the great challenges of this world.




In the phenomenal book Garden of Education by Rav Arush, we find that the key to successful child development is self-improvement. That means we have to be assessing our lives and our actions in light of what Hashem really wants from us. Normally problems occur when we veer off the path that is actually intended for us. In simpler terms, our children reflect the areas we need to work on. For example, if your children dislike prayer and going to minyan or making blessings on food, do a self assessment. In your own self-assessment take stock of how you yourself pray or make blessings. Are you speeding through the morning prayers? How long is your standing prayer? Are you at all focusing on the words or trying to truly have intent on what you say, or do you view it as a chore and burden? Through honest introspection you may realize that your child is simply reflecting your own weakness.


Next, many parents often complain that their children don’t respect them and listen to them. In the same light, assess yourself. Are you listening to Hashem? That means, are you aware of the halacha (Jewish Law) regarding appropriate clean speech where slander is forbidden? Are you praying in a minyan, or dressing in a modest manner?  These are the thoughts that need to be going through our heads if things aren’t going right with our kids.


But this is a hidden blessing!!! It’s not time to get mad at the child!!! Anger will only push them further away. Plus in such a difficult world where it is not so easy for a teenager to find Hashem, fixing yourself and being a positive example will influence them more than anything.


Why? Because it’s a hidden blessing! If your child wasn’t aggravating you in some way, you might fall into thinking arrogant thoughts that you are such a great righteous parent. Don’t think Hashem doesn’t want you to succeed, just know that He truly wants you to earn it. How? By fixing yourself and getting closer to Hashem.




Once you work on yourself, results will follow but it takes hard work. Again we need to be taking that hour a day for personal prayer and assess where we are holding in light of what Hashem expects for us. We need to be dedicating time for each of our children that G-d willing they will stay on the right path in life. That Hashem will protect them from bad influences and that they will succeed in marrying and bringing another generation of G-d fearing people into the world. But it’s our job to get to work, no one else can do this for us!


In the end, what good is it if we’ve reached a high level, if we haven’t brought our children along? We have to think more in terms of the reality, which is that we are servants of Hashem, who aren’t concerned with our own reward in heaven. We must concern ourselves with passing the torch of love of Hashem to the next generation.

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