What Are You Teaching Your Children?
James L. Casale, Ph.D.
Have you ever heard of the God Squad? They appeared as a team on TV in the 90s and spoke eloquently about religious, spiritual, and ethical issues. The original duo consisted of Monsignor Tom Hartman, a catholic priest and Rabbi Marc Gellman. Both of them were serving their respective congregations in New York.
Monsignor Hartman has since passed away, but Rabbi Gellman continues as the God Squad and writes a regular column for Media Tribune Services. I was an avid follower of their words of wisdom, and now I never miss a God Squad column penned so ably by Rabbi Gellman. I regularly save the columns and send them to my children and grandchildren.
Useful parental advice
While this may seem off topic for me since most of my essays and articles are about education issues, it is exactly on point if parents are interested in raising their child in a family culture that models and teaches values. In an August 2016 column, Imparting words of wisdom in final moments, the Rabbi shares a poignant and heartfelt story that touched my heart and may touch yours if you are serious about imparting words of wisdom to your children.
What would you say in your final moments?
The question, What would you say in your final moments? was posed to Rabbi Gellman by one of his avid readers. Acknowledging the difficulty of saying something profound in one’s final moments, he shared this story.
At a bar mitzvah being conducted at his synagogue, it was, and still is customary, for the Rabbi to call upon the parents and grandparents to bless the child in their own words. The diminutive grandfather, a holocaust survivor, rose from his seat, approached his grandson, looked up at the tall 13 year old and in his thick Yiddish accent said, “In this life you are going to meet people who need help. If you can help them-help them.” Then, according to Rabbi Gellman, he sat down and cried.
High hopes and dreams
Every parent has high hopes, dreams and expectations for their children. Not every parent follows through and ardently tries to establish a culture of learning in their homes that teaches and models the character traits that lead to a successful and fulfilling life: caring, giving, kindness, self-restraint and gentleness. What do you want for your child? What is really important? What are you willing to do?
Dr. Casale is a state and national award winning educator and the author of numerous articles and essays on Education. His highly praised guide for parents, Wise Up and Be the Solution: How To Create a Culture of Learning at Home and Make Your Child a Success in School, is available in book stores, on Amazon.com and from his website, www.parentsfirst.biz.