You may know that once upon a time I worked on Wall Street. Recently, when I was asked to write a #jewishparenting article for a magazine, this is what came from my heart. I hope you find these Jewish Parenting Principles helpful…
Fully equipped with an MBA, zero babysitting experience and my mother’s 1976 copy of Dr. Spock, which she had diligently applied on her only child (me), I became a parent in 2006. Bullish dreams of a home managed with the precision of a CEO, the smell of freshly baked challah every week and a team of pleasantly behaved children at the Shabbat table would soon crash if I didn’t face the now acutely obvious weaknesses in my parenting résumé. My days on Wall Street had not prepared me for what lay ahead: a crash akin to that of 2008. Dr. Spock went to the nearest Goodwill, and while I was tempted to bury my head in The Wall Street Journal, I humbly turned to Judaism’s ancient wisdom for help.
These 7 Jewish parenting principles can help you go from bearish to bullish on your best long-term investment:
1. Parenting Is a Partnership
“There are three partners in the making of man: the father, the mother and G‑d.” (Kiddushin, 30b)
G‑d is a partner in this parenting endeavor. We can, and dare I say, must, rely on Divine assistance because quite frankly, this task is at times (if not at all times) beyond our human capacity. But, as the Midrash attests, G‑d does not make excessive demands of us. If He gave us these children, it means that they are the perfect match for us and we for them—hard as it may be to believe at times! But don’t despair because this also means that it’s not all up to us! We may love to shep nachas, but truthfully, we cannot take full credit for the outcome of parenting. (And no, you may not take all the guilt either!)
2. Capitalize on Core Competencies
“Educate the child according to his way and when he’s old he will not depart from it … ” (Proverbs 22:6)
G‑d has given each of our children unique personalities, strengths and weaknesses. We must recognize and respect our children’s individuality. The inherent way of a child—his or her G‑d-given traits—should not be suppressed by parents. Rather, we should cultivate them to the fullest, bearing in mind that negative traits should be channeled positively.
In addition, the sages explain that children must be trained in self-discipline—to set boundaries and change their habitual natures until they attain sovereignty of mind over heart (Tanya, Chapter 12). Living a life that is guided by the framework of Torah law provides plenty of opportunities to exercise mindfulness over impulse and hone this ability.
Download all 7 Jewish Parenting Principles of a Wall Street Mom here: