12 Kislev 5781 / Saturday, November 28, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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80/20 Parenting    

80/20 Parenting

We all dreamed of perfect picturesque Shabbat tables, but we didn’t know how down we could actually feel when things go haywire, to the point where we feel like crying…


Jewish Parenting is by far the hardest endeavor. Special Unit soldiers, Hi-tech entrepreneurs and athletes all compete at extreme levels. Parenting however is something beyond all limits.


Sleepless nights, risk, and extreme energy are all required in succeeding in the above fields. Parenting however is harder. Whereas a soldier, executive or top athlete work extremely hard, they are following their passion of a career choice, a career can change. Parenting however is a divine unfaltering commitment.


Many of us before we have kids intuitively know that it’s going to be difficult. The problem is that we couldn’t feel those headaches or bloodshot eyes before the real challenge - we could only imagine it. We all dreamed of perfect picturesque Shabbat tables, but we didn’t know how down we could actually feel when things go haywire, to the point where we feel like crying…


A parent who is wise enough to follow the advice of Rabbi Arush has even more work cut out for them (daily hour personal prayer, personal holiness etc). There is never enough time. In this generation, there are no guarantees that our kids will keep Torah. Scary and disturbing at times, it is a constant plethora of decisions for us as parents to make - where should they learn, who are good influences as friends, and how much to expect without smothering them.


As parents, we accomplish about 20% of what we could when we are not with our kids, making it extremely challenging if we are goal/task oriented. A woman who can make a Shabbat dinner in less than an hour takes much longer when the kids are demanding her time. A father who holds a job or runs a business can be set off track by any slight disruption in the performance of his child in school. This can cost tons of time, stress and money to patch up.


True, you can’t pray like before or learn like an unmarried Yeshiva student. Your time is on painting, drawing, and making ducks out of play dough. Showers, diapers, cleaning and everything but Torah. You may not think you are on such a level but the truth is that your kids are growing up attached to you. They see you as being 100% committed to prayer and Torah throughout the day. In the morning, you sing Psalms while getting ready. On the way to school, you pray for their success out loud. You get them excited about Shabbat with all the cool new books you bought for them. In your own mind you might not be near your potential. But your kids see day after day your Torah commitment as being 100% - this pays.


This is the 80-20 rule in parenting. 80% of our day is spent raising our kids and tending to their needs and placing them at the center. 20% is left for making a living and growing spiritually. But this equation equals a perfect 100. True, you are only doing a fraction of what you want spiritually but if you are living as an attachment parent your kid sees clearly what is 100% important: Growth and yearning for Hashem and His Torah.


Parents who shun the attachment side as being too kiddy for them are fooling themselves. Kids attach to you when you get down to their level. If you can get down to their level, you’ll win tenfold and actually have fun. Your kids are going to love you. They will see Torah as awesome and want to be like you.


The battle for joy in parenting is endless. Don’t be hard on yourself if you aren’t at the same “level” that you were years ago. Your efforts now are even more special in the eyes of Hashem. So don’t compare yourself to back then because it’s a new game altogether. Your goal is different. Remember what your goal is: To raise kids who love Torah. You will get there by living as an example of being an Emuna parent. Live it, give it and see miracles.




For the next week keep your joy when things get crazy. Have treats to perk you up if need be. Coffee, Chocolate whatever that will give you a boost to recall what we learned. Assess yourself daily before bed and make pans to adjust any mistakes for the next day. Most importantly pray. Rabbi Arush and other great Rabbis are adamant that for success in child raising, a parent must rely deeply on prayer.

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  1 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  1L: You hit the nail on the head. Beautifully written and so true! (only subject)
Yehudit1/22/2019 7:10:24 PM

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