Category: communication

PARENTS ARE POWERFUL TEACHERS…

EKEV — When we teach our children, we don’t only teach them with our words. We teach them with every act we do; in fact, we teach them with who we are at heart. If we go through life angry or resentful, our children will learn anger and resentment. If we go through life critical and judgmental, our children will learn criticism and judgment. Or, if we go through life with love and joy, our children will learn love and joy. In our Biblical portion it says that we should teach the words of the Torah “when you stay...

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CONTROLLING ANGER…

EKEV — What do you do when you get angry? Slam a door? Yell at someone? Just sulk? Well, if you never get angry, that’s fantastic. However, most of us do struggle with feelings of anger. We are confident that everything should be the way we want it, and when things go awry, we become insecure and angry. This week’s Torah portion, Ekev, encourages us to disavow idol worship in all its forms, even physically destroy idols. Sometimes though, the ‘idol’ isn’t really an image or sculpture; it is ourselves. Anger is a self-centered indulgence, a modern form of idolatry....

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TEACHING ETHICS TO LAST A LIFETIME…

VA-ETCHANAN — Raising children is not only about teaching our children how to be successful in the future, going to the right schools and finding the right job. It’s also about teaching them ethics that will carry them through their lives. The ethics we teach to our children are meant to last a lifetime and, in fact, to outlive us. Moses is told in this Torah portion that he will not be able to enter the Promised Land. But he is to teach the people of Israel a body of ethics to serve them in their building of a...

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LISTEN TO ALL SIDES…

DEVARIM — We often jump to conclusions.  A child walks into a new class and quickly decides who is ‘cool’ and who is not.  We may witness an interaction between spouses or a parent and child and immediately decide that someone is being abusive or disrespectful, even though we lack any knowledge of the context. Sometimes our judgment calls are on target and sometimes they aren’t.  In Devarim, this week’s Torah portion, Moses recounts the instructions he gave to the first group of judges he appointed. These instructions are repeated to remind us of their importance and timelessness.  Moses...

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CRITICISM: IT’S HARD TO HEAR AND HARD TO GIVE…

DEVARIM — Criticism is hard to give and hard to hear. As parents it is a challenge to criticize our children in a way that isn’t too hurtful and doesn’t engender defensive feelings. Yet, it’s important to give constructive feedback to our children, as well as to hear feedback from those we love, if we are going to be effective parents. This week we begin the book of Devarim, the book of Deuteronomy. It is a long speech by Moses before the children of Israel enter the Promised Land, including a review of their history and of criticism for...

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