Four post-corona parenting guidelines - and what happened on the 14th of Iyar

How do we re-establish parental control at home after a year of the corona? A parental counselor gives some pointers.

Sivan Rahav-Meir ,

חיבור הורים וילדים
חיבור הורים וילדים
צילום: ISTOCK

How do we re-establish parental control at home after a year of the corona? How do we bring back to our homes tranquility and contentment after such a challenging year? In a broadcast with her last night, my mother-in-law, parental counselor Ziva Meir, provided four parenting guidelines for this time:

*Trust.* Many people are saying that our youth is lost and cut off, but if we stop believing in the younger generation and its potential, that could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We need to trust our children implicitly and to reinforce them continually, to focus on the positive and not the negative, to believe that the good will win out in the end.

*Empathy.* When we say "no," we tend to cut ourselves off emotionally from our child. We shout, "You can't have another popsicle!" or "Stop playing and go to bed!" Even when we need to say "no" and establish boundaries, we need to be empathetic and understanding. For example, we could say: "I understand that you want another popsicle, they're really fun to have on a hot day, but I decided that it's not necessary right now and we will make do with one". Or "I know it was fun going to sleep late during lockdown, but now it's back to school and what can we do, we have to turn off the light."

*Family rules.* It's funny, but the school year is just starting now. This is the time for a family meeting where we make family rules regarding bedtime, meals, distribution of household chores and computer time. The lockdowns are over, baruch Hashem, and if your child has a Tablet that was used without restriction during the corona, that does not mean you cannot take it back now. The corona turned the world upside down. Now is the time to sit down and establish house rules once again.

*A sense of mission.* This is actually the main thing. To feel that what we are doing at home is important. That we are not only fulfilling our purpose outside the home, but inside it as well. That the education we give our children at home is precious and holy and full of meaning, even when this task is gray and terribly tiresome compared to what happens at work or on social media.

If we understand the higher purpose of parenting, it's possible to feel a sense of mission even while using the washing machine or doing the dishes.

Part II

Today is the 14th of Adar, an historic date for at least three reasons:

• On the 14th of Adar 5720 (1960), Adolf Eichmann was captured. In a thrilling undercover operation, Mossad agents succeeded in apprehending the person who organized the plan and led the effort to exterminate European Jewry. This was one of the boldest undertakings in the history of international intelligence operations and was intensely symbolic: the man who sent millions of Jews to the gas chambers was captured by the Jewish State and tried in Jerusalem, the Jewish nation's eternal capital. The man who wanted to rid the world of Jews discovered how Jews had ascended once again onto the world stage, but that now the rules had changed.

• On the 14th of Adar, we note the passing of Rabbi Meir Baal HaNess and many will visit his grave in Tiberias today. Rabbi Meir was one of the five students that Rabbi Akiva taught after all of his 24,000 students had died because they did not show respect to one another. Despite the tremendous grief over these deaths, this divine group of five students did not despair, began to study with respect and love for each other, and revived the world of Torah which remains with us until today.

• And long before this, on the 14th of Adar, while wandering in the Sinai Desert, the first Pesach Sheini or second Pesach was celebrated. Exactly one month after most of the nation had celebrated the Pesach festival by bringing the Pesach offering, people who could not join in the festival because of being ritually impure at that time approached Moshe Rabbeinu. They requested the opportunity to celebrate the festival now, one month later. God responded by establishing an additional, second time that the festival could be observed. Whoever was ritually impure or far away and was unable to bring the Pesach offering at the appropriate time was given the opportunity to bring it again one month later. Regarding this mitzvah, the Lubavitcher Rebbe said: "Pesach Sheini teaches us that nothing is ever lost, that it's always possible to make amends." And perhaps the other two events that happened today remind us of this optimistic message: it's possible to change the direction of history -- to punish a monstrous criminal, to grow and return to Torah study after a crisis. It's possible to change and to be changed. It's possible to make amends and rectify the past.

• Translation by Yehoshua Siskin