A Father’s Parenting / Marriage Recommendations
Dear Ziskeit (sweetie in Yiddish)
As you know I love you, which is why I am sharing with you, what I wish was shared with me.
Our two most important jobs in life is the type of parent and husband or wife we will be.
For if nothing else the one thing that is guaranteed – really whether we like or not – to change the future, is both these jobs.
I don’t know why, but as Rabbi Dr. Twesrki says, there must be education, instead of allowing us to go into the greatest responsibility, with zero training.
As in everything, Hashem is the one who creates these wonderful opportunities of love, growth, giving, and of-course our ultimate meaningful purpose; and for those who seek the information it is there.
So let’s begin:
Starting with parenting;
A child first and foremost needs security – obviously in the most formative months and years, the security provided comes from the mother; yet it is the father who provides security for the mother (no words can underestimate this symbiotic fact.)
At the same time a family is not the place to practice democracy – democracy was instated in order for people who were being abused – people who were mature in their thinking and had a way of life they considered holy (the Pilgrims) to ensure that no others, would force one out of their noble way.
However Democracy has morphed into the mistaken notion that anyone can do what they want.
Obviously if that is the case, then I can steal or insult etc. etc.
The first obligation after providing a child with love and safety, hence security and self-esteem, is to impose upon them a value system.
As the Rebbe teaches, that even making mistakes with what is right and wrong is far better than “Democracy….;” for knowing that right and wrong are values, the child eventually will adopt the right ones (however lacking any information, the child simply becomes selfish, spoiled, and the spoiled person is angered, vexed, incensed… and the incensed person easily falls into violent rage, and in this rage, loss of common-sense, certainly goodness, compassion, ensues; causing a “road-rage” type of malicious insanity.)
To educate right from wrong, firstly you yourself must know right from wrong! – today this is not easy – we live in a world which is heavily influenced to aggrandize all that is both arrogant, cruel and sexually perverted – Instead of seeing the person who exudes self-respect hence restraint, as well as respecting others and living fairly… TV and movies show people whose use of violence get them what they want – and as we all seek to get what we want, we begin to see these as viable alternatives – As the Rebbe teaches, in a world gone crazy, only by being equally crazy in your belief in God’s determining factor, namely, that only God makes the ultimate decisions (though through the vail of nature allowing free choice) hence there is no need to fear or mimic (both which will lead you to self-destruction, for God holds us accountable) can give you the inner conviction to do what is right.
We all innately know that kindness is well kind, and cruelty is well cruel.
A child by nature wishes to get his or her way with no regard to whether this is or isn’t wise – and a parent must have the courage to tell the child “NO!” – Obviously one should ever shame a child – the goal is never to demean, which would indicate a competition with a two-year-old (over prestige) Rather the goal is to allow the child, before their moral convictions have developed, the understanding that they are a good person and as such must behave in this way, as the Baal Shem Tov taught, a child will become what you call them (or cause them to see themselves as.)
3. The most important factor today is what to do about technology – now technology is of-course neither inherently good or evil, like a hammer is; however considering the content, which is malicious, pornography… to allow a child free access to technology would be exactly like taking them (for children cannot distinguish between the reality they would see in the world, or on a screen) to say watch one person shoot another, or the most debased sexual perversion.
No one in their right mind would consider this, yet as these things are so gallantly displayed, it fools our own mind to the extreme indecency, ugliness and absolute evil of allowing such things to be viewed, even by adults – so once again, what YOU SEE, is equally important! for you too get influenced (in fact, it states that the fall of humanity was not really caused by Adam eating a fruit, but by peering into the realm of indecency / evil (as God said “When you eat this you will know evil” – and knowledge in Hebrew means an emotional-attachment, for when Adam peered where he shouldn’t, his heart was attracted, and it takes eons to remove what we emotionally get addicted to.)
A rule of thumb for technology is simple – the less the better – children’s brains are being wired in such a way that instead of being able to thing deeply, their actually thinking ability is being eroded – we will educate people to be zombies… and without technology as children who would come to my home when I was a kid and we had no TV would say, “The only place I have fun without a TV, is your home” for having no TV (and this was before the computers and smart phone) as children all over the world today, and for all of history did, we found innovated ways to have entertaining wholesome games.
4. I need not tell you that no one has yet to match God’s family wisdom – whether it is Taharas Hamishpacha, whether it is the way in which tenderly a husband and wife should interact, whether it is Shabbos and the peace that it envelopes, and whether it is the father going to shul, creating a majesty and an aura of holiness in which he can be respected – certainly by connecting to the Rebbe (our Moshaich, as every generation has one) by following his directives, not only do we create stability, but the core identity, the core raison-detr’e, meaning in life, which unites the entire family.
5. Finally regarding marital relationships – this has taken me a long time to figure out… but based on a letter of the Rebbe (which is on my website under the marriage tab) it is really remarkably simple (though due to our fallacious ego (particularly to men, very hard!) namely, a marriage is a partnership, and all partnerships can only work if a. There is agreement, b. The two parties know how to continuously discuss c. They both seek agreement.