Many of you know my secret — I’m a biblioholic! I am addicted to buying books (and, of course, reading). Some of you may have the same problem. Do you go to the bookstore when you are upset? Do you go to the bookstore when you are happy? Is buying a new book the solution to everything? It could be worse and it is probably something in our Jewish genes — after all, we are “The People of the Book.” As parents, we hope to instill a love of learning and that begins with loving books. There are so many things we can do to encourage this special love:
Read to your child: When our children are young, we know it is important to read to them; however, even when they can read in those beginning years, reading to them lets them enjoy books and stories that are still too difficult. Plus, it is a very special time together.
Let your children see you read: This is a very important step in modeling — it shows what is important to you.
Go to the bookstore and the library: Make it a special time and an adventure. My children knew that I would never say “No” to a book!
Let me recommend a wonderful book that gives our children an understanding of important values and it is a fun and beautiful as well. Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal has examples from the process of making chocolate chip cookies.
Great concept words are defined: “Cooperate means, How about you add the chips while I stir?” “Trustworthy means, If you ask me to hold your cookie until you come back, when you come back, I will still be holding your cookie.” Now we add our “Jewish overlay” with the Jewish values we want to teach our children.
We use the Hebrew words (which in many ways are just as foreign to our children as a word like “compassion”) but those words have deeper meanings filled with our history — so use them! A few years ago, a little boy in the JCC preschool ran up to his teacher saying, “He’s not kavoding me!” What a wonderful demonstration of understanding and using the value of kavod — respect. We want our children to use the words and practice the acts. Let us be the models for them on a daily basis.
Shalom . . . from the Shabbat Lady,
Laura Seymour is director of Camping Services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center in Dallas.