By Laura Seymour
Dear Parents and Children,
As the school year comes to a close, we look back on how we have grown. With our little ones, it is easy to see the physical changes, and even the intellectual and emotional growth can be observed. How do we “teach” our children to have faith and how can we measure spiritual growth? Talk with your children about wonder and, most importantly, talk about G-d. The ease with which young children talk will strengthen your own faith. Our children are indeed strengthening their roots and are growing strong.
A story is told of a young student who questions Rabbi Akiba about the nature of faith. The rabbi brought the student to a sprout in the ground and said, “Pull it up.” The student does so with little effort. They walk on to a sapling and again Akiba says, “Pull it up.” This took more effort but was done. And then on to a shrub, which took all the student’s strength to uproot. Finally, Rabbi Akiba takes the student to a fully-grown tree and try as he might, the student could not move the tree. Rabbi Akiba spoke, “That is how it is with faith. If the roots of our faith are deep, if our religious views are mature and developed, our faith cannot be uprooted, even by someone trying hard to do so. Always remember that the strength of your faith first depends on the strength of its roots.”
Parents, grandparents and all the adults in our children’s lives must remember the impact we have with every word. Albert Schwitzer said, “There are three ways to teach: by example, by example, by example.” Let’s us look within and then model the very best that we want our children to see.
Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.