By Dr. Zev Ballen
I recieved this important letter recently:
You wrote: "Children will only accept guidance from parents who love them when they are 'failing'; who advocate for them when they are not 'succeeding'; who protect them from dishonor and self-doubt; and who accept upon themselves the full responsibility of being a parent."
With ALL respect - who told you that? I have done ALL OF THE ABOVE ... and much more .....and your formula simply doesn't work .
Children today don't accept guidance because the secular education and the decayed society they live in tell them not to. We mothers have also been subjected to Rabbis who scream at us to "take your nose out of your children's marriage." What do they want us to do - passively watch our children playing emotional suicide? Those Rabbis empower children to push their parents our of the picture.
The children of today don't accept guidance because they are a rebellious and arrogant generation; and to accept advice from their parents is to validate their council - which is supposed to be discarded.
Today's children don't worry about being dishonored by their parents - they lack the necessary shame.
You and I belong to a previous generation where honor, respect, guidance, love and care were part of our educational package - and we responded to that!
Dr. Ballen, I would appreciate you're reconsidering your statement unless you can show me where can I find those words in the Holy Torah!
Have a blessed Shabbat,
* * *
It takes enormous patience and wisdom to be a parent. That's why King Solomon, the wisest man to ever live warns us: "...do not rely on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5) Who amongst us can possibly grasp with his own intelligence, the wisdom that one needs to be a parent in this generation without the help of a tzaddick.
Devorah, you can be sure that nothing that I write about parenting is from my own intelligence or 'formula'. Whatever little I 'know' about
parenting I know is correct because I received it from my beloved teacher Rabbi Shalom Arush, who received it from his teacher Rabbi Eliezer Berland who received it from his teacher Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Bender who received it from his teacher Rabbi Abraham Chazan who received it from his father, who was the closest disciple of Rebbi Nasan of Breslev who received it from Rebbe Nachman of Breslev himself - Rabbi Nachman was the grandson of the Baal Shem Tov.
Anyone who thinks that he knows something about parenting that Rebbe Nachman, the Baal Shem Tov and our Sages didn't know - stop right here.
The Sages won't be insulted.
Devorah, It's written "...reverence for your teacher should be as your reverence for Heaven. (Pirkei Avos, 4:15) I don't need Torah sources to teach me about my obligation to honor my kids - it's enough for me that this teaching was faithfully transmitted through the generations to my Rebbi, Rabbi Shalom Arush, through the spiritual giants that I've mentioned.
Nevertheless, you asked for sources, so let's get started:
Devorah, the Mishna says: "Who is honored? He who honors others..." ( Pirkei Avos, 4:2). Yes it's true that children have the commandment to honor their parents - but it's impossible for them to honor their parents if their parents don't first honor them in a deep consistent way for many years - even when they don't act like angels.
The holy sage, Abarbanel tells us precisely that children will not be able to return the love and respect to their parents that they never received in the first place. He said: "Man can give only what he possesses; only an honorable person can accord honor to others." The opposite is also true. If children are dishonorable towards their parents it is a clear sign that their parents either did not invest enough warmth and time in them, or failed to shield them from harm. In more than 30 years of practice, I have never seen an exception to the teaching of our Sages. Continue here...
Dr. Zev Ballen