Setting our children up for success and happiness may be easier than you think.
Did you send your little – and big – ones off to school for the first time this week? Don’t start another day without Rabbanit Yemima Mizrahi’s wisdom:
1) Wrap them in Prayer – Every morning, before your children rush out to the school bus or carpool or whatever, make sure to say a short blessing over them. Rabbanit Yemima recommends reciting the Priestly Blessing, which she says every morning for each of her own children:
” יְבָרֶכְךָ יהוה, וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ יָאֵר יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וִיחֻנֶּךָּיִשָּׂא יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם”
You can also add a tiny request for any specific needs that child has…that your son’s teacher will adore him this year, that your daughter will make some great friends this year, that this will be the year that your son will start loving Gemara at least as much as his Gameboy.
Rabbanit Yemima says: “A child whom you haven’t wrapped up with a small prayer is, in fact, leaving the house naked. It is your job to make him or her a coat of prayer to wear every single day…”
2) Watch your Tongue – You can’t stand your daughter’s new teacher. You think she’s a witch who would have done the teaching profession a favor by retiring shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis. It’s OK to think that. You can even do what you can behind the scenes to improve the situation. But never, ever, EVER speak negatively about a teacher in front of a child. By doing so, you are creating a child who will never be able to absorb wisdom from any teacher or adult at all, G-d forbid.
3) Buy New – When you buy school books for your children, and the salesperson offers you the shiny, hear-the-spine-snap, new workbook or the dog-eared, sort-of erased answers, used workbook, spend the extra money to buy the new one. Ditto for the best, state-of-the-art erasers, pens, notebooks etc. Why spend the extra money for the new and best and fanciest you ask? Because 1)Your extra investment will send your children the message that school and learning are among the most important things in life, and 2) Anyway you aren’t the one paying for those books, or fancy erasers and backpacks. Hashem pays us back for all of our children’s school expenses. As Rabbanit Yemima says, “I always tell them in the store to write out the receipt to the Ribbono shel Olam.”
4) Accompany them – I know, I know, it’s the hardest time of the day. Your son is rushing out to the school bus, and at that same moment your daughter can’t find her gym shoes, and your baby is crying for the pacifier. But make sure to accompany that rushing-to-the-school bus child at least 2 steps out the door. This accompaniment and your blessing will guard that child from danger for the whole day.
May Hashem bless all of our children starting school this coming week with a year bursting at the seams with good friends, good teachers, passion for learning, and absolutely everything good.
Learn more about Rabbanit Yemima and her classes at Parsha.org
Reprinted with permission from JewishMom.com