Much has been spoken about the serious conversations we need to have with our children. “They need to know there are people who do terrible things.” “They can’t continue to live under a rock.” “They can handle it!”
Without weighing in on the merits, or lack thereof, of these arguments, perhaps we can apply these points to a mature discussion of a different sort. Perhaps we are underestimating what children can handle in conversations involving the eternity of the soul, the passing nature of the world, that this world really has a Creator and that Moshiach will come one day, just as redemption came to our grandparents.
Children can handle the truth. It needs to be said in a way they can understand, but truth is what they’re looking for. They would rather hear the hard truth, spoken sensitively, than sweet falsehoods. Perhaps it doesn’t seem so now, but eventually it becomes very clear.
Activists promoting shocking beliefs know that the heart and future of a people is with the children. This is why they are going all out trying to control what’s taught in schools. We need to counter this by redoubling our efforts in making sure we are providing our children with a solid education including discussion of fundamentals such as the 13 principals of faith, accepting Hashem’s decisions, davening and trusting that Hashem will help, among others. The perfect time is when a child asks a question and is already interested. But even if not, we can steer an otherwise usual conversation to a discussion of finer points. With Hashem’s help we will be successful in raising them to be proud Yidden, unimpressed by the glitz and glamor of temporary success.
Tuesday marks 120 years since the birth of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Throughout all the years of his leadership a tremendous amount of attention was given to children. Both that of his Chassidim as well as Jewish children worldwide. Countless talks were spoken only for children. Tzivos Hashem, the army of Hashem, was launched for children. When children would write letters to the Rebbe they were taken very seriously.
The Rebbe taught that a child is the heart of the adult they will become. We must take them seriously. Indeed, when the editors of the children’s magazine, the Moshiach Times, submitted one of their first magazines for the Rebbe to proof, he wrote back that, as is unfortunately the case with other children’s publications, the images were too exaggerated and that children have a hard enough time already adjusting to a realistic view of the world.
Let us take this opportunity to tap into the child within us and turn to our Father in heaven; we’ve done what we can, please fulfill Your promise to bring us back to our land, build the Beis Hamikdash, and bring peace to the entire world.
Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos, and a Kasher un Freilichen Pesach,