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The Power of Youth

From the moment of their birth, children are extremely sensitive to their environment, and as they grow older and mature they appreciate more and more the nuances within the social group of which they are a part.

Based on the verse in Eicha : “שאי אליו כפיך על נפש עולליך” – Lift up your hands towards Him for the life of your young children – says the תנא דבי אליהו that a person should daven and do everything he can to ensure that his children do not become involved in inappropriate behavior. And then the תנא דבי אליהו continues : “ If a child hears inappropriate words from his parents’ he is obligated to speak out, lest the effect of these words leads to tragedy”.

Says Rav Volbe Zt”l: we see from here how parents have to be careful about what they say or do in front of their children. A child notices every word or action and digests it. He listens very carefully to a raised voice, notices when anyone gets angry etc. It is impossible to foresee how spiritually destructive the setting of an improper example can be.

Conversely, a positive behavioral message from parents can have a great spiritual effect on children. If parents are meticulous in their behavior within the family unit and also externally to others, whether it be in their observance of mitzvoth or purely in the way they interact socially, this will be picked up in detail by their kids.

May Hashem give us the strength and ability to do what is right and appropriate, so that we could be that proper example for our kids.


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