Thursday, July 6, 2017

Mis-educating Children

Continuing the thought from two posts ago...

The biggest gift parents can give to their children is a strong value system. The biggest disservice parents can do to their children is raising them with false ideologies or no ideology at all. It causes tremendous harm to their bodies and souls and to society at large.

Take radical Islam for example. The believers raise their children with a sense of hatred, anger, feelings of being victimized etc. etc. and we see the fruits of their education.  It is bad for everyone-  not the least are the Islamists themselves. They don't seem to be happy people. The thought that they are getting their 70 בתולות in the afterlife doesn't seem to keep their spirits up. [Gives one an idea what level they are on when that was the best pleasure they could think of ימ"ש].

I see so many Jewish children whose minds are being poisoned on a daily basis by their parents, teachers, the media [social and otherwise] etc. etc. It pains me so much. Just because I am not the biological father of these children doesn't make them any less holy, important or not G-d's special children. There is the feeling many people have that as long as my children are raised properly then everything is fine and my job is done. 

It isn't. As long as there are countless children who are not being raised properly then we are all responsible. In all of my years I have never met an American MO parent who said that the most important thing in their lives was that their child become a good, upright, kind, G-d fearing Jew. Not one. It could be that there are PLENTY out there and I haven't spoken to them. There are certainly many really good people in the aforementioned category [who are, incidentally, much better than I am in countless ways]. But the attitude of the primary concern being to raise children who are faithful servants of Hashem and the Jewish people seems to me to be the exception rather than the rule. Of course the kids are taught that they should ALSO be religious but not that being a gadol in Avodas Hashem comes before everything else. 

I have yet to meet a kid whose parents were opposed to them attending college because of the negative influences and because it will impede their spiritual growth. But how many out there are just as open to their kid continuing in Yeshiva? Shana Bet is often a war, Shana Gimmel almost impossible and Shana Dalet no chance. Why? College is 4 years so why shouldn't Yeshiva be the same? Why does college get more time than Yeshiva??

The answer is simple. Because the air of America suffused and saturated with materialism. MONEY-MONEY-MONEY. When one becomes a talmid chochom there is generally no big money involved. So the push is go to college which will help you get a job which will pay you a lot of money which is the goal of life. THAT is the message. 

Another example - I don't know any MO kids who have any limits on their access to all of the filth on the internet. How can a responsible frum parent buy his 15 year old son a smartphone? What is he going to do with it? Watch torahanytime all day?? To use gemara terminology מה יעשה הבן ולא יחטא?!

It contaminates and pollutes their minds and souls. Today one can't even watch the news! The news is all about sex. How? Because the person reading the news is [in Western conceptions] super attractive and often wearing very little. Why do they hire these models? Why don't they hire 68 year old, short, overweight Italian grandmothers with mustaches who make a great pasta and read English just fine? Because they are selling sex and sex sells. That is also the central theme of most TV shows and movies - whether covertly or overtly.  When a Jewish boy or man looks these things it causes tremendous harm to his soul of which he is not even conscious. And then when he looks for a mate, she has to be eye popping gorgeous because why should his wife be any less good looking than the lady he sees on the six pm news or on his favorite sitcom? And then we see thousands of older singles who are miserably alone. Believe me - if not for  the influence of the surrounding culture most of them would be married. Look at the communities that are less influenced by the surrounding culture - they have MUCH LESS OF A PROBLEM. They teach their children that it is critical to get married young and have large families. It is good for them personally and for the Jewish people. And they get married and produce large beautiful families.  

That being said I have to reiterate: There are many really good people out there who are great Jews and do much good for the Jewish people. They also pay crazy sums for tuitions so that there kids will have a Jewish identity. But the American materialistic ideal is far too powerful to overcome completely. People are well meaning but they have imbibed the false beliefs of the surrounding culture. 

I try to raise my children with the ideal that what is most important by FAR is to be a kind, caring and spiritual person. Money is important insofar as it helps one lead such a life. Whether I have been successful or not is for Hashem to decide. But it is not enough for me to raise my children and be satisfied. It must pain all of us when innocent children are being misled and lied to about what really matters.