Thursday, July 4, 2013

following by example

I always say morning brachot before having breakfast. Usually it is the only davening I get in. The kids know what I mean when they offer me a piece of their breakfast food and I say, hold on, gotta say my brachot first.

Yesterday, 9 yo opened a new package of chocolate granola from Trader Joe's. As he was offering me a taste, I said the usual line. He stopped, put down his spoon, and said that he will also say his brachot before starting to eat. He got his siddur, and said birchot hashachar, then proceeded to enjoy granola. (It is good, as anything that contains chocolate chunks in the ingredients should be).

I never insisted for the kids to daven before having breakfast, but 9 yo had seen me do it for years, and now something clicked for him to do it, too. This morning, by the time I got up, he was dressed, had breakfast and davened, so I do not know in which order he did things, but I will take a kid ready to start the day right.

People are nervous about how to teach kids to read. My first question is: do you read yourself? Do you read a lot? Do the kids see you reading for pleasure? And do you read to your kids? They are bound to be interested in picking it up, sooner or later. 3 yo brings me books, points out the letters she knows, asks me about the letters she does not know, and she sees us all reading. I read a ton to the boys. 9 yo knew all his letters by the time he was 2. 7 yo resisted telling me the names of the letters, but once we got through all the BOB books, he just started reading on his own. I complained how his first chapter book was Captain Underpants, but now he's reading Ranger's Apprentice. He read a lot of Beverly Cleary and Judy Bloom. Chapter books are clearly not an issue any more.

What is it that you want your kids to pick up? Think about it, and constantly practice it; they are bound to notice the value you place on it, and will follow your example. You just have to be sincere about it. If you do not truly value it, they will sense the hypocrisy and will not value it either.

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