Life, Love & Family

 
 

Kabbalah on Education

Kabbalah comes to the rescue to today's education and parenting crisis

The Secret to Child Education

Children will always want to be like adults. So if we want them to behave differently, we should first learn to do it ourselves

 

From the very first days of a child's life, we try to teach them the art of communication. We want children to "play beautifully," so we organize holidays and birthdays for them. We are concerned how to maximize their free time, and we spend considerable resources on educational games and training manuals for them. We are pleased when other adults can appreciate our children's intelligence and good manners. But we often forget that almost every day while children are at school they have to take the exam "for survival" among their peers.

Adults are always ready to meet children halfway, forgive and pity them, whereas in their relationships they have to fight with "fire and sword" for their rights: demand and give in, attack and defend, get used to their peers hostility towards them. And in spite of how much effort we spend to create an oasis for the child's happiness and prosperity, his real life happens outside our house.

There, in the big world, a child immediately has to learn to play according to different rules. He can see that the success and prosperity are earned with a lie, intrigues and brute force. But we ourselves have written these rules. Without taking notice of it, we accustom children to a policy of double standards. Every parent has roughly the same thoughts: "I am ready to do everything for my children to do well. And not just do well, but better than others."

With this "better than others" thinking we are slowly but consistently sawing the bough we sit on. At first children will subconsciously and then consciously adopt the rules of the game. The world is divided into "us" and "them" and if "they" stand in the way of our interests, they immediately become an ‘outlaw'. Outside of "our" law. Needless to say, we can see disastrous results of such an outlook in everyday life.

Is there an alternative? Kabbalah argues that yes, it exists, and by this way the interests of all will be taken into account. This means that regardless of affiliation to a certain group of people on social, national, religious and other grounds, every person is guaranteed respect for his vital interests. This will become not only the letter of the law, written in the constitution, but also inner aspiration of most people.

This is possible provided that everyone without exception follows the rule "anything that you hate, do not do to your friend". Simply by adhering to this rule, life would literally change, for the better, right before our eyes.

And children? Children will always want to be like adults. If we, the adults, begin to behave in another way, children will immediately imitate us. In kindergartens, schools and in the street, new games will appear in which children will learn from each other to live in a world of good. Therefore, the best that we can do for our children is to start with educating ourselves.

Recommended: If you like the articles in this education section, then you will like the articles in our Kabbalah Publication.

 

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Education without Ritalin

Hyperactivity is a natural phenomenon in the new generation of children.

 

About 80% - 90% of children today are hyperactive. Many of them are prescribed Ritalin. Parents are told, "Don't bring your child to school if you don't give him Ritalin." It has become almost a prerequisite at schools.

But this is certainly wrong. Kabbalah explains that people change from one generation to another because our desire constantly grows. People in the new generation have greater desires than those in the previous generation. Hence, they develop new technologies, society and thereby humanity advances. For this reason every generation is greater than the one preceding it.

Today we have reached a special generation where the ego has leapt to such a height that we are incapable of using it in the right way. We don't understand children, so instead of understanding them, we want to calm them, as if to stop them, to chain them down with Ritalin. But it only stops a person and doesn't let him develop.

It is not that a particular child is hyperactive. It would be one thing if it was one or two children, but today 80-90% of the children experience this phenomenon. So it isn't an exception at all. This is what the generation is like, and we want to put it in shackles, to put it in prison.

A child has to run, a child has to jump, a child has to be "hyperactive." He has to bring out his energy, his desire in order to develop. And if we put restrictions on him, if we medicate him, we will certainly harm him both physically and mentally.

If it is a prevalent phenomenon, we must approach it delicately, as something natural and necessary for development. We have to admit to ourselves that we don't know how to deal with such children, how to calm them down, place them in schools and set limits. Regardless, Ritalin is not the correct approach to it.

 

My Parents are Dinosaurs

Unless children receive the answers they need, they disconnect from parents and live their own lives.

 

We often see that the younger generation is negative toward their parents and elders, they treat them with anger and respond with aggression to their advice. If we saw this anger as a cry for something deeper, we would understand that, perhaps they are right, because the older generation is not giving them what they need.

What do we give the younger generation? They seemingly have everything: snacks, television, or video games. But it is not what the new generation is asking for, not what it wants, not what it is destined for. They lack the answer to the question, "what am I living for?" and it bursts out in the form of violence and anger.

Why is there an older generation and a newer one? Elders need to provide the younger generation with information about life, to pass them wisdom of how to manage in life, to answer the fundamental questions of existence, "Where am I? What for? Why? What is my life all about?"

Unfortunately, more often than not, this does not happen. Most parents never know the answers to these questions themselves. Yet, does this fact free them of the obligation to provide their children with what they need? Of course, not. If parents don't know themselves, they should also search. Children say, "They had me, they brought me to the world and it feels as if they threw me out here, without any help." - this is what children feel inside.

Not receiving answers they need, children become disconnected and detached from their parents. A kid comes home, eats something and he has his own life. Father, mother and whatever is out there are like machines that supply their physical needs. Everything else that concerns their soul and other inner needs has nothing to do with them. Who are these people? Dinosaurs or robots around the house that serve him. This is exactly how parents seem to children.

Can it be different? Yes, but only if parents themselves receive a different education.

If the children see that their parents are interested in the essence of life, the reason we live for and how to attain it; if they see their parents develop day by day, children feel that their parents can provide them with answers to any question. They can explain what happens in the world and why, help them understand the crisis and all the problems, so they can relate to the world correctly. Parents can not only explain this but also engage them in this wisdom.

Sadly, if children see and feel inside how miserable their parents are, if they witness them getting divorced, taking drugs, or wasting their time, burning their life out, what kind of attitude can they have towards them?

Children today are very smart. That's why parents themselves should understand that, for their children's sake, they must educate themselves.

 

From Generation I - to Generation We

Children's games should teach them how to win by connecting with each other.

 

Back in the eighties, Douglas Coupland popularized the term "Generation X," referring to the new generation. This quickly became a hot topic, and a pop culture formed around the notion, seeking to decipher the unique qualities of the new generation.

Today, we live at the time of "Generation I" - a generation that is typically concerned with one thing - itself!

Kabbalah suggests that the best way to get from Generation I, where we feel alienated and hostile, to Generation We, where we feel connected, safe and connected, is through a new kind of education. Believe it or not, one of the principal means of education is - children's games!

The games children play today, in the Generation I, are all about winning by being the fastest or the smartest, or stated simply, "better than everyone else." To go from this to Generation We, parents can encourage their children to play games where the winner is the one who is best at connecting with others.

From a young age, children will learn about the benefits of being connected with others and will develop a mindset that is harmonious with Nature - where everything is already harmoniously interconnected.

In addition to showing children how we triumph by connecting with others, these games should also show that without such a connection, we fail. The games will show the child that being the best, triumphing, and winning, can only happen when everyone wins. This will help the children make that inner transition from I to We, and they will win-together with everyone else.

Such games and educational systems can pave the way to a new, interconnected mentality, suitable for the 21st century. Our times - of growing globalization along with growing egoism - necessitate that a transition will take place from the "I mentality" to the "We mentality." Through games that enable such a transition, children and parents alike will learn a fundamental truth: that winning can only happen together with everyone, not alone.

 

"Higher" Education: How to Raise Happy Children

Practical suggestions on education and for solving conflicts between parents and children.

 

"Education does not create anything new, but rather reveals what is already hidden within a person." (Rav Kuk, Essays of the Raiah, p. 100)


One can find valuable tips in guidebooks on raising children. A good tip can very often save months or even years of indecision and frustration, and help families out of dead end situations. However, we frequently encounter questions or situations that "catch us unprepared," and leave us wondering if we are capable of responding appropriately. In such situations, our response typically amounts to a perplexed smile or an obscure hum, covering up our lack of knowledge and great indecision as to what actually is the proper thing to do.

Being aware of children's developing curiosity and of many parents' distress, we decided to collect a few practical suggestions in each issue based on the authentic wisdom of Kabbalah, which relate to issues of the soul, to education and to the huge questions of little people. Enjoy!

An Answer to Every Question

Being parents will never be an easy job. In addition to long sleepless hours and concern for children's support and welfare, we find the most difficult and truly challenging task of all - supplying answers to each question they raise. Surely many of you are familiar with the scenario in which the sweet child opens a pair of huge, curious eyes, innocently looks you straight in the eye, and mercilessly shoots questions relating to the meaning of life and its purpose. In such cases, it doesn't really matter if you're a Dr. Spock fan, or a fervent reader of Tracy Hogg (author of the popular best seller, "Baby Whisperer"), you will most probably be left without answers, as the answers to these questions are not found in books.

That is precisely why we have chosen to dedicate the first tip of this section to the question of how to answer those huge questions asked by the little people growing up in our homes. Should we tell them what we think, even if the answer is not so "easy to digest", or should we evade a confusing answer, and leave them to cope with the question at a future stage in their lives?

Always tell the truth, but be consistently gentle.

"Be direct with the child, direct to the end, otherwise you will not gain his trust, since a child is sensitive to any falseness, as benign as it may be." (Yanush Korchak).

Above all, realize that children are sensitive by nature. If they detect that anything is being concealed from them, it can disrupt the entire system of mutual trust and respect with their parents. Therefore, if you hold important information or deep insight regarding life, don't hide it from your children. They are thirsty for that knowledge.

It is always preferable not to hide the truth from children, however, there is no need to burden them with issues they are still emotionally unprepared to handle. Practically speaking, if the truth is not simple, try to simplify and adapt it to the child's world of imagery, in a gentle and non-threatening way, so as not to pressure them. Remember that every story you tell your children comes to life and becomes real. It is your obligation as parents to be sensitive to the emotional and mental development of your children. Only in accordance with their emotional maturity, will you be able to reveal an additional level of the wisdom of life that you have accumulated over the years.

Therefore, sometimes it is better to wait for the demand for additional knowledge to come from the child himself, so he feels he is not being "pushed" into something he did not even request. His expression of willingness signals you that he is ready to absorb a deeper response. Lend an attentive ear and follow his reaction to the things you tell him, that is how you will be able to ensure that you are not burdening him too much and confusing him.

If you do not know the true answer to questions, don't be afraid to admit it, but don't evade your responsibility towards them to search for the answer, together with the children. As Albert Einstein once said, "What is important is to not stop asking questions."

The Great Rebellion and the Little One as well....

As parents, we tend to give our children quite a lot of advice, but many times, they listen carefully and then proceed to do the complete opposite. For some reason, in most cases, an individual feels the need to do the exact opposite of what was explained to him, and to discover better and more suitable solutions than those that were tried by their parents - to live his own life. Even though it doesn't always succeed, that aspiration doesn't seem to escape anyone.

Almost everyone rebelled at some point against his parents. Still, when watching our toddlers grow, one of the things we fear most of all, is that they will do the same.

Where does that aspiration to rebel against the previous generation's entire legacy stem from? How can we cope with that most efficiently without forcing our opinion and without hindering the child's development?

Advising through Honesty and Friendship

Kabbalah explains that when an individual is asked to change, naturally he resists, because the aspiration for change did not stem from him, and he does not feel any benefit to be gained by that. The truth is that in most cases he is correct. Why? Because most of the advice we receive from our parents results from the thought patterns they absorbed in their childhood, and suits them - not us. Thus, subconsciously, their advice primarily serves them - not us, therefore it is not acceptable to us.

Likewise, it is important to realize that subconsciously, every parent secretly hopes that his children will continue in his footsteps. Therefore, he inculcates them with his own concepts and values.

In order to create efficient and healthy communication with a child, we need to understand that each new generation has new and different values from our own, ones which do not match our expectations. If we ignore this conflict - between parents' aspirations and the new level of the child's development - it will inevitably end in rebellion.

Through the observation of the nature of man, Kabbalists have concluded that the only chance of a child listening to a parent, is if he feels he will benefit from taking the advice. Therefore, it is wise to give advice or an explanation that will provide the child with the feeling that by accepting it, he will personally gain something that is not necessarily connected with the parent. That requires a parent to be honest with himself, and to examine the essence of his advice - he must continually ask himself, "Who is this advice actually serving?"

It is vital for the advice not to appear in the form of "Do's and Dont's", but to cause the child to understand by himself, within himself, what he needs to do. That way, he won't feel that a certain process is being forced upon his life, but will feel that the idea of change developed independently within him.

Another interesting point that Kabbalists bring up is that within the depths of his heart, each child longs for a true friend. One of his greatest hopes is to discover true friends, even in siblings and in his parents. Deep in his heart, a child is ready for such a relationship with his parents. Therefore, in order to create a true dialog with children, parents need to learn how to become a friend and a big brother. He should try to create mutual trust which is not based on honor or control, but on true friendship and partnership towards the attainment of any common goal, one which is based on unconditional love.

Good Luck!

 
 
 
 
 

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