How to See Your Child in a More Meaningful Way

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The innocent faith of a child touches upon the simple essence of God

There is a beautiful lesson in childhood itself — above all, that a child is purely innocent, and that such innocence is the foundation of life. If we were born as adults, already prepared for the struggles of life, we would never experience the magic of childhood, the license to explore life with our eyes wide open. Childhood gives us the chance to soar through the sublime before we trudge through the quotidian.

So when you next spend time with your child — or any child — do not take the experience lightly. Look at the child intently and realize: God has given you this gift to nurture and care for, to teach good habits and the difference between right and wrong. Your attitude toward this child and the sensibilities you impart will be crucial to how his life develops and how he influences others. Most important of all: Allow your child to be him or herself; allow your children to teach you how to live a more meaningful life.

When was the last time you had a heart-to-heart talk with a younger person about the real issues of life? A talk about our place in the world and what we are supposed to do with our lives. A talk that honestly looked at pain and failure. We must all sit down calmly with our families, with our young people, and talk about our lives and aspirations.

But remember, without love, our influence will be at best incomplete and at worst, destructive. Love means sensitivity — not to our ideas and our standards, but to our children’s and, most important, to G-d’s.

As parents and teachers we must remember to be humble, to develop the trait of humility. We are not the source of guidance and information, but a vehicle for that which comes from a greater, higher place. How can we be arrogant in dispensing this knowledge? We should feel blessed with the opportunity to impart it to our students and children. Above all, remember this: Words that come from the heart enter into the heart. As a parent and teacher, you must mean what you say, and you must be a living example of what you teach.

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A Spiritual Road Map for Living
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