Thursday, 15 December 2011

Helping Kids Have a Real Relationship with Hashem

How do we teach our children to "live right" with emunah in today's world?

by GYE (See all authors)

Aharon emailed us:

Hi Guard,

From my experience, it's clear that long term recovery can only be achieved by "living right" one day at a time. "Living right" can mean different things to different people, but a relationship with Hashem is a core component by any definition. So when considering how to best prepare children for their inevitable encounter with the Y"H of lust, it would seem that beyond all the eitzos of filters, communication with your kids, etc., etc., THEY need to form a relationship with Hashem as early as possible. For me, this did not happen until I began to work on recovery when I was 30+ years old! For my kids, this is at least 20 years too late. I'd be happy to learn with my kids about emunah and hashkafah - i.e. the tools that help me today. But I suspect it won't work the same way at their age, and that something else is probably more appropriate. Is this true and if so, what is the right material or approach?

Thanks,
Aaron

GYE responded:

Dear Aharon,

Good question. We can tell our children:

  • To speak with Hashem as if he was a friend right here with us in the room...
  • To realize Hashem loves us even when we make bad mistakes.
  • To internalize that He only has our very best interest in mind at all times, no matter how bad things seem to be.
  • To live with constant gratitude, even for the little things...
  • To internalize how much Hashem values a real relationship with us; so much so, that when we are distant, He sometimes causes us suffering and pain just to get our attention... It therefore follows, that if we live with constant gratitude and awareness of Hashem's closeness and love, we will save ourselves much pain down the line, because He won't need to get us to come "running to Him" just when things are bad...

Of course, all these ideas are easier said than "felt". But if we talk about these ideas with our children from time to time, and if they see a father who truly believes these things, feels them, and lives with this kind of awareness, then I believe that they too will learn to internalize it.

Also, I highly suggest all parents read our handbook called "Prevention Tips for Parents". It can be downloaded here (right-click and choose "Save Target/Link As").