Believe it or not, we’re all teachers
By Laura Seymour

seymourforweb2Each year I share with you the ways that we are teaching Jewish values to our children at camp.
Those of us who went to camp when we were growing up know how powerful the experience can be in creating Jewish identity — a fun time that teaches us more than we may have thought possible.
The songs, discussions and learning activities are all important.
But children also see Jewish values modeled by the young staff that they idolize, and those are the moments and the messages that stick.
Let me share this story from a parent:
When I pulled up to drop off my son for camp in the front of the building, there was an elderly couple that had stopped in front of us. The husband was dropping off his wife, who was using a walker.
The counselor, who was there for carpool, was helping the woman out of the car.
My son watched all of this and said to me, “I really like to see people help others.”
In ways big and small, the camp staff is changing lives by setting an example!
We know the powerful force of learning by modeling. It happens every day. Each and every one of us is a role model, even when we don’t know that we are being watched.
Here is an excerpt from a poem to remind us that our children are always looking. In fact, you may never know who is looking!

“When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking” by Mary Rita Schilke Korzan, 1980

When you thought I wasn’t looking,
You hung my first painting on the refrigerator
And I wanted to paint another one.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, you fed a stray cat,
And I thought it was good to be kind to animals.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, you baked a birthday cake just for me,
And I knew that little things were special things.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, you said a prayer,
And I believed there is a God I could always talk to.
When you thought I wasn’t looking,
You kissed me good-night and I felt loved.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, you cared,
And I wanted to be everything I could be.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I looked …
And I wanted to say thanks for all those things you did
When you thought I wasn’t looking.
Laura Seymour is director of Camping Services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center of Dallas.

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