Becoming Observant As a Family: How to Survive the Challenges

Taking the Family on the Teshuva Train

One day we find ourselves standing at the crossroads of life. We may find ourselves with a yearning to reconnect to our roots, to the traditions of our family. In some cases, such as mine, we have a chance encounter, are awesomely inspired and want that inspiration to last forever. A passion catches fire and we are off! This is great for us adults. But what if you are a family? How you move through the process of becoming observant will seriously impact the future of your children’s attachment to their yiddishkeit.

Here are a few tips from some of our leading Rabbis, psychiatrists and family counselors to help make the transition easier for your children.

  1. Respect the pace of your children. Focus more on yourself, because as your children witness your transformation, and the positive energies that result, they will be more eager to follow your lead.
  2.  Younger children will adjust to the transition much more easily. Make the experience fun. Keep their young inquiring minds engaged and answer all their questions.
  3. For older children, especially teens, the journey to becoming an observant household is going to be a bit more challenging. Teens are more focused on friends and fitting in, and less on family. The best way to help them is to be a strong role model. Model your love for yiddishkeit. Let them see your excitement.
  4. Make sure you maintain a positive and loving relationship with your children, this will keep the doors of communication open because you need to be able to hear and respond to their fears, concerns, and dislikes. Work out the new rules together. Decide upon the “red lines,” such as Shabbat and keeping kosher in the home.
  5. Make Shabbat a meaningful day to be together, as a family, without all the distractions of the week days. Engage them in Shabbat preparations. Cook together, let them plan the menu from time to time, make sure everyone has a contribution to make.

These are only a few ideas. Your Rabbi will be an invaluable asset to you and your family as you transform your lives.

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