Torah parenting is making your children your number one priority in order to teach them HaShem’s ways at every opportunity and guard them from being taught the ways of the world at all costs. Talmud says we should not allow our children to be taught by someone who has less observance of the Torah and Oral Torah then the parents do.
How many families who are Torah-observant send their children to daycare, school, or leave them in the care of others who do not follow Torah? Who did HaShem
entrust our children to? Us–the parents! That is why we should be involved in every aspect of our children’s lives; not to be an interference in their development, but to fulfill our G-d-given role as parents guiding them to be righteous, holy individuals who value their relationship with HaShem and His ways over today’s culture.
Torah parenting can get confused with the term “Helicopter Parenting.” Helicopter Parenting describes parents who hover over their children and become too involved in their lives, interfering in developing social skills and problem solving, including interfering in college or career decisions later in life. Torah parenting encourages parental involvement to protect children from danger, the secular world, and to teach Torah principals and values in order for children to have Derek Ertez (G-dly behavior). This is part of l’dor v’dor, passing our Torah learning and hertitage on to our children, grandchildren and so on. May HaShem cause each of us to be so involved in our children’s lives that we don’t miss an opportunity to teach His ways. Yet, as our children grow and reach bar/bat mitzvah, as parents our role shifts. Torah parenting instills a foundation in a youngster’s life for decision making such as choosing a college, career, spouse, etc. May our children always seek our guidance and follow the Torah when making major decisions.
HaShem does not promote self-centeredness, independence, nor entitlement but loving-kindness, interdependence with family and community, and a giving spirit. What are you willing to sacrifice in order to ensure your children are learning Torah values at every opportunity in order to instill a solid foundation for their future? Is there a place in your life you can make a change in order to decrease the influence of the secular world in your children’s lives? What do your children view as your priorities? Are your actions congruent with your words? Does your value of Torah shine through all aspects of your life?
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis wrote in The Jewish Soul On Fire,
“…it is those mothers [fathers] who shirk their responsibility by rationalizing that youngsters have to be made strong and self-reliant, who, in their selfishness, remain deaf and blind to the cries of their troubled children, who run off to distant places, abandoning their youngsters to the care of strangers. It is they who have to apologize, for the harm that they have inflicted will be felt for generations and generations to come.”
Let us, as Immas and Abbas, mothers and fathers, in partnership with G-d, make our job of parenting the children entrusted to us our highest priority so they will be a blessing to the world!
May you have a wonderful Shabbat!
Rebbetzin Lynette Murphy