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Vayakhel / Pekudei – Parsha Parenting Principles

By Rabbi Ari Neuwirth  

As we conclude Sefer Shemos with the reading of Parshas Vayakheil and Pekudei, we learn how the Yidden came together to build the Mishkan. This was a huge undertaking of time, resources, and skill. The creation of this beautiful edifice was only possible due to the cooperation and overwhelming response of the people. We learn from the construction of the Mishkan that when we come together in unison much can be achieved.  There is a familiar word which describes this enterprise and is often used when people assemble for a common purpose; "TEAM", it is also an acronym which conveys to us, that together everyone accomplishes more.

I am sure as parents we ask ourselves each day, how can I encourage my children to participate in the daily chores of the house? What can I do to stimulate my children to take responsibility for their clutter? Allow me to share with you a few suggestions that we have implemented in our own home, as well as some advice I have read from a book, entitled,  "Partners with Hashem", written by Dr. Meir Wikler.

When administering jobs to our children it is important that we plan ahead, preferably by writing out a chart of designated responsibilities for each day. With this, the children will know how to arrange their day or night and not feel that their chores are interfering with their free time. The second step is to ensure that the assigned job is suitable for the child. Many times children feel frustration while performing a job due to the fact that it is beyond their capabilities. Chores need to be concrete and specific. For example, asking for potatoes to be peeled is not specific. We would need to say, how many potatoes need to be peeled and by what time. Finally, when the job is completed it is always important to follow up with a compliment which reinforces the positive behavior, as well as pointing out the areas which still need improvement. Through following these suggestions we will, hopefully, see a house where our own children will work together just as we did many generations ago while building the house of Hashem.



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