We encourage our kids to excel in school academically, to try their hardest at sports, to be socially active, and yet, how many parents take the time to push their children to do good deeds?
For bar and bat mitzvahs, we spend the time ordering everything from invitations to arranging the dj or band. We buy nice clothes for the family and we take our kids to their Hebrew lessons. Yet, sometimes in the midst of our chaotic lives, while preparing for this momentous occasion, the entire purpose of actually performing a mitzvah gets shoved under the rug while preparing for this life-changing celebration.
We need to actively teach our children to become mensches. They need to find the time to turn off the television, put away their ipods, stop the texting and take a look around their community.
There are so many rewarding opportunities waiting for our teens. We, as parents, educators and leaders, need to guide our youth to make a difference in the world.
Doing mitzvot or getting involved in community service projects, enhances not only our kids self-esteem as leaders, they discover what it’s like to care about something other than themselves. Children learn how to communicate face-to-face when organizing fundraisers. They develop skills such as time management and learn how to prioritize tasks.
Making time for academics and sports is crucial; but don’t forget to make time to teach your children about the world around them. Find the time to drive them to a senior citizen home to play an instrument. Find time to take them to a park to help plant or weed a bed. Find time to collect food for the hungry and deliver packages to those in need. If we want to create well-rounded children, start by teaching them to be concerned about something meaningful and guide them to get involved in their community. You may just be surprised what a difference one child can make when they put their mind towards something! We need to empower our youth to become passionate citizens.
by Valerie Franklin, Co-Founder of www.themitzvahbowl.com