Quotes are sometimes just what you need to gain perspective. I love quotes because there is so much wisdom in a relatively short statement. Here are some of my favorite parenting quotes.
1. What the child says out in the street comes either from his father or his mother.
Talmud: Sukkah 56b
Kids do what we do, not what we say. If we want to be a good role model for our kids we need to walk the walk and talk the talk. If we want our children to be kind, respectful and loving we need to be kind, respectful and loving. This can be extremely helpful when we parent because it is something we can control. We can take responsibility for own behavior. We often cannot control our children’s behavior.
2. A mother understands what a child does not say- Jewish Proverb
Understanding the underlying messages behind a child’s words can go a long way in helping us defuse potential conflict, and connect with our children by understanding their true emotions. When children say:
“I hate you!”
They really mean:
“I am so angry!”
When children say:
“Why do I have to do everything around here?”
They might really mean:
“I am too tired to clean up right now.”
Parents who read between the lines have better relationships with their children.
3.“Train up a child in the way he should go and even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Every person is created with their own strengths and talents. We need to learn what our children strengths are and then our child discover those strengths and talents and then help them find ways to utilize those strengths.
We can ask ourselves:
- What is my child’s strength?
- What characteristic of my child brings me joy?
- What gives my child the most joy?
- What comes easy to them?
They might be very different from what we expect. A father who values academics might have a child who loves the arts or vice versa. But it is not about us. Children thrive and flourish when they feel that their authentic selves are valued and appreciated by their parents.
“If you really want your children to devote themselves to Torah, then you yourself must spend time over the Torah, and they will do as your do. Otherwise they will not devote themselves to the Torah, but only tell their sons to do it. And so it will go on.
If you, yourself, forget the Torah, your sons will also forget it, only urging their sons to know it, and they will forget the Torah and tell their sons that they should know it. And no one will ever know the Torah.” Kotzker Rebbe (Hassidic, Eastern Europe, early 19th century)
If you are not excited and devoted to your Judaism your kids will know it. So you need to find ways to live and love your Jewish values and make your Jewish traditions fun and memorable.
One more for fun:
Having children is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain. Martin Mull
Family life is messy unpredictable and noisy. Kids fight, washing machines break and the house seems to be perpetually out of order Even on a good day it can seem as if you are getting it all wrong. But you’re not. It’s normal. This is what life is about. We need to embrace the messiness of it all, roll with the punches and move as calmly as we can through the ups and downs.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.