The Jewish parenting website Kveller is running a series right now on parenting. They’ve got 5 perspectives so far, and I have to admit I have mixed feelings.
They seem to have picked some extreme situations–a mom who clearly has OCD, a kid who has chosen Communism over Judaism–but also some pretty normal ones, like the soon-to-be dad finally realizes the fate of his unborn child is out of his hands and chats with G-d about protecting him and (this had me laughing both out of amusement and empathy) the mother whose kids imitate G-d saying, “No!” to each and every request she makes at a trying stage of life.
What surprised me most is that so far most of the parents seem to not have thought about what they would say about G-d before talking about Him with the kids. Some of the stories are frankly depressing, like watching the blind leading the blind. Not surprisingly, their fumbling responses get some pretty sad results.
But I just love that a non-Orthodox (at least, not only Orthodox) Jewish website is hitting this issue, which largely goes undiscussed in polite American circles. And we’re getting a real glimpse into American Jewish households to see what’s going on in there.
It’s pretty harrowing.
Sure G-d says, “No,” an awful lot. But what about all the times it turned out good for you?
What about saying, “Thanks, G-d!” every time you experiences a moment of joy? “Thanks for the parking space!” and “Thanks for there being exactly enough cupcakes for us all!” make an impression on kids as much as all those heaven-sent No’s.
What about discussing with your co-parent about how you’ll represent G-d to your kids ahead of the “Big Talk?” Because it’s as much of a Talk as the more famous one, and requires at least as much forethought.
Something that surprised me also was that no one really mentioned sharing books about G-d with their kids. A lot of the what I’ve communicated with my own kids about G-d has come from books and magazines, like Where are You Hashem?, The Invisible Book, and Hashem is Truly Everywhere.
Do any readers out there have literature they like to share with their kids to enhance their “G-d Talk?”