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