Teach children faith by developing strong roots

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.
But, 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 God. 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 over to a sprout in the ground and said, “Pull it up.” The student did so with little effort. They walked on to a sapling and again Akiba said, “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 took the student to a fully grown tree and, try as he might, the student could not move the tree.
Rabbi Akiba spoke, “That is also 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 very 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 Schweitzer 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.
Shalom…from the Shabbat Lady.
Laura Seymour is director of camping services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.

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