Parents naturally want their children to do well in school. We are concerned when they, for one reason or another, are not flourishing in school, and this gives us anxiety regarding their futures. We do all we can to address whatever problems or obstacles seem to be in their way. There are times when children feel a great deal of pressure from parents and teachers to do well in school and often this pressure can be counterproductive.
The Jewish holiday of Shavuot sheds a different light on the meaning of study. This holiday, marking the receiving of the Torah by Moses on Mount Sinai, is commemorated by all-night study. While children don’t often stay up all night, they can also participate by staying up past their usual bedtimes to study Jewish topics or Torah. This holiday highlights the Jewish value of learning for its own sake– not for grades, not for some future career, not to make one’s parents happy, but for the simple pleasure of learning.
Introducing children to reading, studying, thinking and debating for its own sake can lead to a lifelong habit of learning simply for the joy of it. This would mean truly giving your child the gift of learning.
TALK TO YOUR KIDS about the value of learning for its own sake, without reward or grades.
CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:
- What do you like to learn in school? What about it interests you?
- What do you like to learn out of school? What about it interests you?
By Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses
Values & Ethics—Through a Jewish Lens is created by Fred and Joyce Claar to bring the wisdom of Judaism into family discussions.