Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Raising a healthy and wholesome child

We are now going to learn an insight on the expression, "to sit and do nothing is preferable." A parent who realizes that they are in a situation where they cannot educate their child without harming the child (i.e. shouting, verbally abusing, hitting, etc.), should take the role of sitting back and doing nothing. Because chinuch which comes without love and feeling is like poison to the child's soul; and it is not child education. Being quiet and hiding from your child's inappropriate actions will do a lot less harm, even no harm at all most of the time, than will giving your child improper and harsh reprimand. The latter will certainly weaken and damage the child's soul and inner life force.
In fact, if a parent occasionally decides not to intervene and reprove the child at the time of his misdeed, this will imbue the child with a great feeling of value and worth for the parent who was able to overlook the bad action for the sake of the child's honour. Then the child will himself awaken from his bad actions without you having to even say one word. Now even if this does not happen, you will still gain because of the fact that you did not take a hit at the child's soul. This will allow your child to remain with his happiness in life and self confidence, and most of the time, a happy and self confident child will grow up to learn good behaviours and attributes.
A person who is spiritually healthy, in most cases will follow the good path in life. However, one who is spiritually ill will need miracles in order to heal his soul from the damage done to him by improper parenting and educating. The main goal therefore is to raise a happy and spiritually healthy child. This can only be done with lots of love, understanding and warmth. This is what will give your child the best chances for success in life.
(Translated from "Chinuch Be'ahava," Rav Arush's new book on raising children)

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