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Reflective Parenting - Recalculating
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
This article orignally appeared in Hamodia

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Dear Readers:

I hope you are enjoying these mini-parenting columns that are running in Hamodia. As I wrote in the first column, Reflective Parenting - "Hey; Look at that Squirrel!" they are designed to match the shorter attention span of today's readers.

I've been getting lots of positive feedback to the columns, for which I am grateful. More than a few people, though, have asked me, "Why are they [the columns] so short?" and "Why can't you add an anecdote or two to the columns?"

Guess what? Not one of the people who asked me those questions carries a blackberry or is under 40 years old.

I have lots more to say about this phenomenon and the generation gap it represents; but . . . I need to keep this short.



Isn’t it interesting how nonchalantly the GPS system in our automobiles responds when we make a mistake and don’t follow its instructions? The same calm voice that directed us in the first place comes back on, simply says, “Recalculating,” and helps get us back on track.

Now; imagine how we would feel and respond if the GPS was programmed to progressively inject a harsher tone of voice and raise the volume each time we missed a turn in unfamiliar territory.

Would it help or hinder us if instead of “Recalculating,” we heard things like, “Would you PLEASE listen next time?” or “Don’t you know anything at all about driving?” What if there were four passengers in the car, all of whom were listening to the GPS criticizing your driving?

The affection that we all feel regarding our children is most certainly a positive component of our relationship with them. However, precisely because we love them so much, we are often too passionate to calmly help them grow and learn from the inevitable mistakes they make.

Our chazal (sages) teach us that there are profound lessons to be learned from all new developments in our world. Perhaps we ought to take a page from the makers of GPS and do our very best to gently, privately and constructively help our kids “Recalculate” the next time they take a wrong turn or two.

© 2010 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved

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