Every year our School has a Chinuch Melave Malka / A meal after Shabbat on Education. One year the theme was “Entering Your Child’s World.” The speakers spoke about caring about what kids care about, talking their language, doing what they like to do. The twofold advantage was 1) to have a better connection with one’s child. 2) To be able to establish a positive relation together – that they will be motivated to listen rather than nagged or threatened to listen to parents requests.
We as Torah Jews already have a boon on our side. We – that send our children to Torah schools – have a commandment from the Torah of Kivud Av VaEm – the Commandment of Honoring Parents – that the Kids learn to respect parents. Kids are motivated to listen – because doing so they do a Mitzvah / Commandment. Even then – it is sometimes a challenge to get kids to listen. But if we have a positive relation with kids – it makes things easier.
I overheard a part of a Shiur / lecture of Rabbi Fischel Schachter – a Rabbi that speaks to you. He says many stories from great Torah sages – that are great lessons for us all.
He mentioned a story about Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Zt”l – a former Gadol HaDor – great rabbi of the generation. When some rabbis walk, their followers surround them hoping to get a Torah question answered, or to learn how to act from him, or to ask a question about Torah Hashkafa / outlook. Once Rabbi Moshe Feinstein was walking with his son Reuven. People were asking him questions. Reuven – as a kid – was touching the bars of a fence on the sidewalk. When they reached the end of the fence – Rabbi Moshe turned to his son and said “I think you missed one of the bars – let’s go back and touch it together.”
The great rabbis know how to enter into a child’s world.