The conversation that began at the 91st National Convention continues —
“What parenting challenges do you face?” On Tuesday, January 14, the conversation continued in Queens at a highly successful panel discussion on parenting hosted by Agudath Israel. Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky, Dean, Yeshiva Toras Chaim South Shore; Dr. Benzion Sorotzkin, clinical psychologist; and Rabbi Yosef Viener, Rav, Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, Monsey; responded to questions posed by members of the audience, offering insight and perspective born of years of training, experience, and of course Daas Torah.
Today parents face a myriad of challenges, balancing raising children with their own multiple responsibilities of jobs, commitments to extended family and commitments to community. Our children face challenges include the many distractions of technology as well as societal and peer pressures. Giving the parents the tools to meet these challenges was the focus of the conversation that began at the convention, continued at the conference, and will continue as thinking, loving parents commit to doing the best they can for their children.
And doing the best they can begins at the beginning, as Rabbi Kamenetzky pointed out in a poignant story about a man who approached the Chazon Ish at his son’s bris, asking him for guidance in raising this new baby, to be met with the question, ”Why did you wait eight days?” it means creating what Rabbi Kamenetzky described as “a family coat of arms,” a set of unwavering values for a child to understand and internalize.
Doing the best they can, Rabbi Yosef Viener noted, means finding each child’s strength and focusing on it to allow him or her to grow. It involves what the Chazon Ish described as a tablespoon of encouragement and a daily smile, predicting that those portions would increase. Above all, it means teaching by doing, modeling the behavior we seek to encourage.
Doing the best they can, as Dr. Sorotzkin said, involves looking at the total child to understand what he or she needs to succeed, developing a relationship with the child, and creating a stable, loving home to nurture the child. .
“We continued the conversation in response to parents who indicated their desire to continue exploring the best way to deal with the ongoing issues that all of us face on a constant basis,“ said Nechemiah Hoch, member of the Lefkowitz Leadership Initiative, Queens Committee. “And that conversation will remain an ongoing one, as long as parents are invested in the future of Klal Yisroel.”