8 questions every parent can ask themselves

Sunday, 7 July, 2019 - 12:23 pm


She Was Doing So Well, And Then...

8 questions every parent can ask

with Rabbi Mordechai Z. Hecht 

During the summer here in New York, many children go to camp—be it day camp, sports programs or summer school, and for the lucky ones, sleepaway camp.

Parents missing their "little squirts," boychiks, meidelachzeeskeitsetc., move on as their children are away, and parents actually make some long-awaited time for themselves, and kudos to them indeed.

However, it's also that time when we receive report cards—which brings us to reflect on a full school year's accomplishments and, in some instances, the challenges and even failures of our children.

The summer is no better a time for us to take a few moments for introspection and reflection on our children's behaviors and achievements—to consider their past and perhaps consider some great steps for growth and future success both academically and behaviorally.

Take a Second Look

Are you one of those parents who noticed a somewhat drastic change in your child's report card? Perhaps we the parents need to take an even deeper look to discern “why the changes.”

I believe a series of great questions can be asked, and their answers can be very promising.

What changes can possibly be going on in your child's life? Some changes may include and should be strongly considered, and of which we can fairly and surely ask ourselves:

1. Is my child going through biological changes, including hormonal changes, and what if anything can I do to help them?

2. Can it be that my child has had a change of friends, or change of attitude and behaviors in their friends, etc.?

3. Can there be a change of teachers, or circumstances in their teachers’ lives, that could be impacting their behavior in the classroom and beyond?

4. Perhaps the curriculum is really growing and your child has yet to meet those changes face to face?

5. Perhaps your child isn't telling you something, including all of the above and more?

6. Very often parents who are separated or divorced won’t both be getting the messages in reference to their children from the school.

7. Has something happened that my child hasn't told me about that is of critical importance?

Parents often tend to get busy—besides, of course, our super busy-ness with the king of busy-ness: our cell phones—and we tend to be preoccupied. There’s no greater time than now, as the breeze is cool and the sun is shining, for us to take five minutes and really ask ourselves:

8. What can I do today to better my child's education, my relationship with their educators and to improve their overall behavior and personality?

Sometimes there are simple patterns that children follow; other times they exhibit no outstanding changes until you see their report cards, at which point you find yourself wondering,Huh! I wonder why that is!

Consider discussing your concerns, feelings and findings with the appropriate people who can help you answer and address them.

Often enough, the answers can be super-redeeming and very refreshing.

30 Minutes a Day

In the Hayom Yom of Teves 22, the Rebbe teaches us, in the name of his father-in-law, the previous Rebbe:

"My revered father, the Rebbe [Rashab], once declared at a farbrengen: ‘Just as putting on tefillin every day is a Scriptural commandment incumbent on every Jew, regardless of whether he is a great Torah scholar or a simple person, so too it is an absolute obligation for every Jew to dedicate half an hour every day to thinking about his children’s education, and to do everything in his power—and indeed, more than what is in his power—to see to it that they follow the path in which they are being guided.’”

Take a second look at those last words.


All too often, parents "drop their kids off" at school, shul or camp; perhaps we need to ask ourselves what am "I" doing each day to remember to also "pick them up" - to further my children’s education on "the path" that I obviously want them to succeed in. Perhaps "drop off" isn't enough. The Rebbe, in the name of his father-in-law, the first formal principal of the Chabad yeshivah and educational network, is teaching us a fundamental principle in education: that one must, in fact, do "everything in his power" to continuously improve the Jewish education of his children.  

Best wishes to all for a beautiful, meaningful, powerful and happy summer.

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