Friday, August 17, 2007
My Answer to One of the Comments Received on Parenting
Although I didn't intend parenting to be the main topic of this post, it has been discussed in the comment section of that post. I received an interesting question to that post which I will quote here:
If you did not have the daily responsibilities to learn Torah and attend minyanim could you be a better father?
A Simple Jew suggested I post my answer in a post of its own so here it is:
Thanks for the thoughful question. I can definitely see how it might seem outwardly like that might be the case... more time out of the house = less time with the children = not as good of a father.
However, I would actually be a worse father if I didn't go to daily minyanim and sedorim. My kids know that I get up very early in the morning (hours before they get up) to learn before davening. They also know that I (almost) always daven with a minyan. That teaches them a couple of things that they wouldn't get without those commitments. They see that commitment to Yiddishkeit and mitzvos is not only an obligation (which they are taught to keep as well by observing my commitment to it) but also that it is the most important and enjoyable part of my life. That teaches them that Yiddishkeit is not a burden but a privilge and a pleasure to their parents, and hopefully by example, to them as well.
Are they sometimes sad to see me go to minyan or that I am not there when they wake up? Sure. But that temporary discomfort is small in comparison to the lessons it teaches them, which help inform who they are as human beings and as Jews. And educating my children by influencing attitudes about commitment to the obligations and pleasures of Judaism is my first obligation as a parent. Besides, since I'm around less, they're even happier during the times I am around. If I was always present with them so many hours a day, then almost none of the time would be special and they wouldn't see me being commited to anything greater than myself and my family, which would be a bad lesson.
Hope that helps!
(The Picture is "Waiting for Dad" from AllPosters.com)