“Right, Mommy, please give me the chicken.”
Chaim’s Bubby and Zaidy were coming for dinner and Chaim was never sure how to act at the table with his grandparents. He knew that he was supposed to treat them with respect, but he was not sure what that meant exactly. And, sitting still at the table and making sure not to make a mess with his food was always a challenge. Even though he loved them, Chaim dreaded when his grandparents came to dinner.
Today, we live in a society that often glorifies youth. Because of this, it is often hard for our children to understand the inherent importance of ancestry and family. It is up to you as a parent to teach your children how to respect their elders. What better place to start than with their grandparents?
The most important rule when trying to instill your children with respect for their elders: treat your children with respect.
Stay calm. Just as you cannot make cars move by simply honking your horn, you will not be able to get children to respect their elders by raising your voice. Rather, speak respectfully to those around you and your children will learn to do the same.
Respect privacy. If you want your children to have respect for others’ property and space, teach them by example. Encourage knocking on doors and do not eavesdrop on their conversations. This will help them do the same for others.
Admit when you are wrong.Don’t be afraid to say,”I was wrong” or “I’m sorry.” It will teach your children the value of humility.
“Chaim, don’t forget to say kriyas shema.”
“And if you need something, come and get me or Mommy, but only if you need something.”
“You had a long day, didn’t you, Chaim?”
“Yes, Tatti. I love you. Good night.”
Finally, Chaim has a chance to rest! When you go through any child’s schedule, it is exhausting to realize the amount of social effort that goes into a typical day. While there is no easy solution, if you can pinpoint where the issues lie, there are possible solutions. After all, as it says in Koheles, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”
About the Author: An acclaimed educator and social skills specialist, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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