Sunday, October 12, 2008
What Causes Kids to Go Off the Derech - Interesting Op Ed
In this opinion piece in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, forwarded to me by my wife's uncle, focuses on the pressing problem of too many frum kids going "off the derech," leaving the path of observance.
R' Boteach's main theory as to why so many kids go "off the derech" is the absentee parenting that he says is very prevelent in frum homes. He focuses mostly on Chabad Shluchim, but the same can be said about most frum homes in major metropolitan areas. Parents (especially fathers) are out of the house most nights of the week giving or attending shiurim, attending Smachos, learning or working late. Even on Shabbos, he points out that children don't sit with their parents in Shul, but rather go to youth groups instead.
My rebbe has also commented that it is deterimental to our homes that parents are busy going to simchas, parlor meetings, shiurim, etc. every night and aren't ever home with their children at night.
It is a difficult problem. Men must often work late even just to get by financially in major metro areas, which are expensive to live in. They are also obligated to learn Torah, and therefore can't spend all their evenings at home with the family as this would be bitul Torah. There are many challenges and it's difficult to know the right balance.
Right now, the only way we can balance this problem in my family is that although I am almost never home until after the kids go to sleep at night due to law school (and when I graduate, that will probably continue due to law firm hours), I am able to come home after learning in the mornings to spend 45 minutes or so with the kids helping them get ready for school, before I head out to daven Shacharis.
Any other ideas on how to balance family with communal/personal goals/responsibilities so as to avoid neglecting our families and Ch"VSh creating our own "kids at risk?"
(Picture courtesy of Soda Head)
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