​What we want from our Children

Thursday, 16 Feb 2023

Recently I have re-read 2 of my favourite books: Dr Wendy Mogel’s work The Blessing of a Skinned Knee and The Blessing of a B minus – 2 books I would suggest for any parent. (Although, it may be hard to find a copy because they were written a long time ago). 

That being said, as a learned psychologist and Jewish scholar she found a way to make her words timeless. So let me paraphrase a small section that gives me the chance to leave a final, captivating message of worth. A timely and timeless message that resonates today as much as it did 25 years ago.

The purpose of having children according to the teachings of the Torah, is not to create opportunities for our glory or for theirs. The purpose is to raise them to be self-reliant, compassionate, ethical adults such that the rules regarding child-rearing are not primarily about making children feel good, but about making children into good people.

The great Jewish thinkers she said, could distil their work into guiding principles as follows:

1.Accept that your children are both unique and ordinary.

2.Teach them to honour you (as their parents) and to respect others – family, friends and community.

3.Teach them to be resilient, self-reliant and courageous.

4.Teach them to be grateful for their blessings.

5.Teach them the value of work.

6.Teach them to make their table an altar – to approach food with an attitude of moderation, celebration and sanctification.

7.Teach them to accept rules and to exercise self-control.

8.Teach them the preciousness of the present moment.

9.Teach them about their faith. 

After so many years and so much reading I still can’t find anything as exacting as what I have read. 

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