The Jewish Value of Humility, Anavah in Hebrew, refers to occupying our proper space, neither too much, nor too little. — Alan Morinis, Everyday Holiness
Are you occupying your proper space as a parent?
The difficult question is: How do we determine what our proper space is? As parents of young children this is a question that we could ask ourselves every day. We know that if we occupy too little space, avoiding our responsibility to teach and guide our children, we are not fulfilling our obligation as parents and the cost may be tremendous.
Do you hover over your children attempting to protect them not only from harm but also from failure and disappointment?
Parents are often overprotective because they are concerned for their children’s safety, which is understandable. Parents need to be aware, however, that children who have been too sheltered from life experiences often respond by being frustrated, and cry easily when they are faced with challenges. They may grow up unequipped to navigate their lives and be unable to solve problems that present themselves in the real world.
Are you preoccupied or even obsessed with your children’s successes in school or other activities?
Another reason parents may be overprotective and over involved is that they may look at their child’s accomplishments and failures as a direct reflection of themselves. They may even be embarrassed by their children who are not as successful as they want them to be. These parents may constantly intervene and have a hard time stepping back and letting go. They may not allow children to make their own mistakes, or even acknowledge that they have made mistakes so they can learn from them.
What is the right amount of space to take up in your children’s lives?
Allow children to feel life’s challenges, to solve problems, make choices and experience consequences. At the same time be attentive, aware and ready to step in when it’s necessary to protect them from dangerous paths. As with everything in life, it’s all about balance.
Want to teach Jewish values to children? Mussar for Children: Jewish Values for Everyday Living Curriculum is the only Jewish values program of its kind geared specifically for young children. To purchase click here.ewish values for children
The Mussar Institute
© 2015 Michelle Princenthal
Photo by Ambro.