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Communication is both verbal and nonverbal. We tell our children how to behave. We talk to them about midos (good character) and try to inspire them with stories of everyday heroes. We hope inspiration to act appropriately will come from examples of the behavior of our gedolim, as we surround our house with their pictures and fill our bookshelves with their teachings. All of this does have a profound impact on our children. But it is very important to remember whose example will influence our children more than any other and how that influence works.
Nonverbal communication (what we do instead of what we say) seems to have a much more powerful influence on those around us than verbal communication. This is not to negate anything mentioned above. Our children need many influences, verbal and nonverbal, from many sources. But it is vital to remember that a parent is perhaps the biggest influence in a child’s life at any age, and, parents’ behavior carries tremendous power. What they see us do influences them to a much greater degree than what we say.
This poem arrived on my computer from a friend. Once again, it was by that famous author, “Anonymous” whose works are so often sent from one computer to another. It so reflected what I feel, that I framed it and have it hanging in my kitchen and in my children’s homes.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw my first painting on the refrigerator and I wanted to paint another one.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you feed a stray cat and I thought it was good to be kind.
When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you make my favorite cake, just for me, and I knew that little things are special things.
When you thought I wasn’t looking I heard you say a prayer and I believed in a G-d I could always talk to.
When you thought I wasn’t looking I felt you kiss me goodnight and I felt loved.
When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw a tear come to your eyes and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it’s alright to cry.
When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw that you cared and I wanted to be everything that I wanted to be.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I looked…and I wanted to say thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking.
I’d like to change the poem to perhaps make some points about what, unfortunately, is common when raising children in our communities and what they are teaching our children.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you keep the change that was too much instead of returning it and I knew it was all right to keep what wasn’t yours.
When you thought I wasn’t looking I heard you tell the man asking for tzedakah that you had no money, and I knew it was all right to lie and not give charity.
When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you ask the carpenter what price it would be if you paid him cash, and I knew it was all right to cheat the government.
When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you buy a TV at the store so we could see the World Series and then return it right after and I knew it was all right to “rent at Walmart.”
When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you transfer the macaroni with the hechsher we didn’t use into a package with the hechsher Daddy likes, and I knew it was all right to fool around with kashrus and lie to your spouse.
When you thought I wasn’t looking I heard you talking badly about our neighbor and I knew it was all right to speak lashon harah and gossip.
When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you pass by the blind man at the corner without offering to help and I knew that it was all right to ignore those that need us.
When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you ignore the needs of our sick neighbor and I knew bikur cholim (helping the sick) wasn’t important.
When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you didn’t dance with Yanky, my friend whose father was in a wheelchair and couldn’t dance with him, on Simchat Torah and I knew not to be sensitive to another’s needs.
When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you not help Bubby and Zaidy on Yom Tov when we visited and I knew how to treat you when you get old.
When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw our neighbor sitting alone every Shabbos and Yom Tov and I knew that inviting guests was only for whom we like and not who needed the invitation.
We teach mostly by example. Our young children copy everything from how we walk, sigh and even cough, to how we speak to another (words, tone and all). If we want to raise children who care, we must show them by our example of caring for others to teach how it is done. Otherwise it’s just “do as I say and not how I do”. In that case, it may never get done.
You can contact me at email@example.com or by snail mail c/o the Jewish Press.
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Yet all are part of one neshamah, planted in rich, verdant soil, determined to grow. May our garden continue to produce a glorious assortment of flowers and trees, each attached firmly to its roots. Our diverse southern vegetation flourishes and grows into different trees, flowers, and fruits, and a rainbow of glorious shades and hues appears. Yet each shoot is rooted in the same soil, stretching its branches and blossoms heavenward in an endless pursuit of growth and connection to the One above.
This past Lag B’Omer, we were blessed to make our first upsherin, where we celebrate our son’s first hair cut. It’s a wonderful milestone that mimics the three years that we refrain from plucking a tree’s first fruits and symbolizes the entry of the child into the world of Torah learning. It’s a clear sign to everyone; this boy is no longer a baby.
Although there are more direct and faster routes to Beer Sheva and Eilat and all the sites and towns in-between, the Basor River is one of the beauties of the Negev that defiantly justifies a diversion.
The importance of death customs has been ingrained in me since birth. When I served as a shomeret for my grandmother, I was instructed not to eat, drink or perform a mitzvah in the same room. In the shock of death, it seemed rather inane to be told it would be considered mocking the dead. My grandmother was gone; she couldn’t do those things because she didn’t exist anymore, a fact that still makes me tear up.
I would have to say that one of the most annoying things about having a newspaper advice column, aside from all these people writing to me and asking for advice, is that they frequently don’t tell me WHY they’re asking.
Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt”l, who passed away on 28 Tammuz, (July18) this year at age 102, spent all of his days and most of his nights learning Torah. He was the paramount leader of our generation, and inspired tremendous awe and reverence in everyone who knew him. Now, every woman has the stunning opportunity to do something in his memory. A Sefer Torah is being written in his memory and women around the world have the chance to dedicate a letter.
Due to her family situation, it is understandable that she will have more responsibilities than other girls her age, but she would benefit from having some free time and receiving more appreciation for her hard work.
For children, summer means outdoor sports, picnics, and of course, no school! Teachers and students work hard all year long – and everyone deserves a break from education over the summer. However, this two-month break can often have some pretty devastating consequences.
It was only after we celebrated the great news that we were expecting twins that we saw the first sign of problems. First of all, my wife was losing, not gaining weight, even as the babies continued to grow normally. Soon after, routine blood work revealed that my wife was suffering from gestational diabetes.
Rabbi Pinchas Gruman is the new rav of the Minyan at Aish Tamid.
One of the most respected Torah figures in Los Angeles, Rabbi Gruman has been described as “The Los Angeles link in the mesorah of the yeshiva world” by Rabbi Nachum Sauer. As a talmid in Lakewood in the 1950s, Rabbi Gruman received semicha from Rav Aaron Kotler, zt”l, and Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l. Soon after, he moved to Los Angeles.
Another tree is down.
I’m driving down Lakewood Avenue, figuring that maybe, just maybe, the tree that blocked the middle of North Lake Drive has been removed, and I can go through. After all, they had a whole day. I’m sure things have been taken care of.
When one is blind one learns to use Braille to read. When one cannot walk, a wheelchair gives mobility. Sign language allows a mute person to speak and ocular implants assist in hearing when one is deaf. These are all compensatory strategies that help a person function despite his disability. But compensatory strategies are not just for physical problems. Understanding our psychological weaknesses and setting up our lives to ensure that we are not tempted to repeat our past mistakes, is as necessary as any aid to the disabled.
Well spouses have often discovered that their friends and relatives, despite their closeness to the situation, often don’t realize the tremendous emotional impact living with chronic illness has on the family. With the best intentions, suggestions, ideas and criticism are offered, based on the non-experience of those with healthy families. Even when the good intentioned get a taste of the difficulties, it is sometimes not enough for them to then identify and understand what the family of the chronically ill must face on a constant basis.
Over the past two weeks I have shared letters from a therapist and a well spouse. Both of the letters gave personal insights into the process of losing hope, how we react when that happens and some ways of coping when test scores, diagnosis and just simple repetitive behavior indicate that change for the better is impossible.
I’ve read your last few articles on psycho-neurological testing (Oct.8-22) with interest. As a therapist who has counseled couples dealing with chronic illness, I’d like to give you another perspective.
Your articles on the Neuro-Psychological Testing were right on (October 8-22). My husband underwent testing twice and your articles explained it things exactly the way they were. Besides the test, we also tried therapy.
Very often when we can’t face our big hurts or big loses we focus on the little ones. We can discuss those. We can cry over the small loses, be angry at the smaller hurts even though it may look trite and sound ridiculous to others.
Over the last two weeks we have been discussing one way in which well spouses can determine whether behavior displayed by their ill partners is caused by their illness or is a way they have chosen to act. We have focused on Psycho-Neurological testing, what it can tell us, as well as its pros and cons.
Last week I discussed a question that haunts many well spouses: not knowing if the difficult and often inappropriate behavior frequently displayed by their partners are caused by the disease and therefore not-controllable, or if the behavior is a choice the spouse makes and can therefore be changed. This doubt can be the source of much frustration and many marital disagreements. One way of alleviating this doubt is by having a psycho- neurological work up done. But that path is not so simple.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/bringing-up-the-next-generation-to-care/2006/11/15/
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