THE SECRET TO CHILDREARING AND A WHOLESOME HOME
September 26, 2019
Beis Moshiach in #1184, Chinuch

By Rabbi Nachman Yosef Twersky

How can we get a child or youth and even a young man to feel that his home is his source of protection? This subject is very pertinent nowadays when we see what is going on in the street – we see both very problematic things but also wonderful things.

In the past, there was a tremendous innocence. Jews had a foundation of simple faith and bitachon; they had bittul before a rav, a mashpia, for the Chassid and talmid chacham who served as the central figures of their lives.

Over time, the big world became a small world and everybody knows everything. Everyone has become a self-proclaimed expert. This is why we need to invest thought into how we address and what we convey to the child. And we need to be careful with every statement, so as to avoid spoiling an opportunity to reach his heart and mind.

***

The Rebbe Rayatz writes what the conditions are for building a Jewish home according to Torah, so that through this building we merit Torah and mitzvos, health and parnassa, nachas from the children and the fulfillment of “Anyone who is pleasing to his fellow men, is pleasing to G-d, but anyone who is not pleasing to his fellow men, is not pleasing to G-d.”

How do we attain it? The Rebbe Rayatz writes in detail: First on the list, understanding, followed by energy, dedication, patience, being goodhearted, cleanliness, steady calm, orderliness, and a joyful mood with a pleasant face and friendly attitude.

These are the words of the Rebbe Rayatz and we could talk for hours about each detail; it’s really amazing. Sometimes the question arises: Must we invest so much and work so hard when we are so preoccupied with parnassa? How is this possible?

In my experience as a teacher, a class sometimes has 30-40 students and the work goes smoothly and sometimes there is a class with only 15 students and it’s chaotic. Chinuch demands hard work.

A person who invests himself and all his energy does not fight with the children, but controls them professionally and not just professionally but with yiras shomayim, and he puts his soul into his work with the students. The children ultimately get it and then the class is quiet, they are mekabel from him, and the work becomes easier. But a teacher who does not resolve the issues within himself, will find it hard to face a class of students and then he yells at them and causes the children to scream back, and nobody benefits.

The same is true at home, when a father puts his strength into the home, according to the letter from the Rebbe Rayatz: with understanding, energy, dedication, patience, being goodhearted, cleanliness, order, joy and a pleasant face towards others, and he puts himself into it as he thinks about each point separately, about how to implement it. He sees completely different results in the chinuch of children. It actually requires work and investment, not physical work but wisdom and self-sacrifice.

One who is involved in chinuch and carries things out with an inner wholesomeness, sees both this world and the next world. The Kotzker Rebbe said on the words, “All Israel has a share in the World to Come” – one who wants this world, should put work into the home so that it’s quiet and pleasant, a place worth coming to that is clean and organized, and then he has this world. The World to Come is something every Jew has, but he needs to have a share in this world too. That is the Jewish home where there is both delight and chayus.

I am not saying that everyone is perfect and that the ideal is wonderful. Each person goes through difficulties in life and nobody is 100% perfect. We are not robots; sometimes, a person sometimes loses it and it is impossible to insist that the home always be completely quiet. But generally speaking, children need to see their father keeping it together, calm, peaceful and working on himself, even if exceptions occur since he is human, after all. The child also understands that sometimes it is hard for his father and sometimes he loses his cool, but usually, his father is calm and can be depended upon.

Boruch Hashem for giving us the great gift of children and this is the greatest shlichus that Hashem gave us and it’s the greatest joy, and we need to invest all of our energies in it.  Chinuch is not a task that is limited to a certain time of the day or week or month; it’s a 24 hour-a-day job. Your very presence in the home, your conduct and speech, are chinuch.

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
See website for complete article licensing information.