Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Learning More to Keep Up With Your Children

I happened to be davening next to a Tzadik in Shul this past Shabbos morning. He's a Baal Teshuva, a great father, and an all-around great person. I observed that he was looking over his daughter's parsha sheets. They were about 3 pages long and were all in Hebrew. He was poring over the sheets with a dictionary on one side, and a Metzuda Linear translation of the Chumash and Rashi on the other side. As he was working on the Hebrew in the parsha questions so that he could understand the questions well enough to ask them to his daughter at the Shabbos table, I was thinking what a great role model he is.

For those of us who are trying to be good fathers like this man, it's worth noting that we shouldn't take a back-seat attitude to raising our children. He could have said to himself, "If I know it, I know it. If not, not. Whatever it is, is meant to be. She'll have to get along with the parents she's got." And while all of that is true, it's great to have that assertive attitude that says, "If I don't know something that my child is learning in yeshiva/school, I'm going to learn it so we can share that together." Givaldig!

Just another story to throw in that's not related, about my own kids. The other night, my daughters were about to go spend the night with their Saba and Savta. My wife asked our almost 3 year old son whether he wanted to go too or not. He said that yes, he also wanted to go. So my wife said, "No. Stay here with Mommy. I would be so sad if you left." So he says, "I no want Mommy be sad." And then listen to this, he goes, "Okay, I'll stay." Crazy! How many children would give up on something they want to do just to bring happiness to one of their parents!? (Maybe a lot, but I'm still schepping nachas.) OF course she told him that he could go, and didn't have to stay. But it was sooooo sweet.

-Dixie Yid

(Picture courtesy of the Israel Book Shop)

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Chaim B. said...

Your case of the ba'al tshuvah is one side of the coin, but there is another side that applies to parents who themselves have a background in learning. A person may come home from work and want to sit with a daf yomi or some other seder to maximize their limud hatorah in the relatively small # of hours a ba'al habayis can put in. There is a danger in such a situation of not making time to sit and read simple aleph-bais, or chumash/rashi, or simple mishnayos with one's children, even if that tine comes at the expense of more advanced personal sedorim. There are people who devote hours to learning but couldn't tell you what perek or masechta their children are holding in - I'm not sure that derech is an ideal in avodas Hashem.

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

Chaim, good point. When time is so short, it's sometimes hard to "give some of it up" to learn with your children. Great point.

-Dixie Yid

Neil Harris said...

DY, those were two great stories.
I actually spend part of every Motzei Shabbos going over what pauskim my 2nd grader will be learing, along w/ Rashi for the upcoming week.