The Jewish people have historically held an ideal standard for Jewish family life that is expressed in the term shalom bayit. Shalom bayit signifies wholeness and fulfillment.
“…a place that feels like family, the warmth of home.”
—Hillel, 70 BC-10 AD
The key to nurturing happy well-adjusted children is shalom bayit, a peaceful home. When there is a happy, wholesome, home atmosphere children tend to thrive! This understanding inspires us to improve our relationships at home in order to maintain peace in our home.
Young children are naturally bursting with energy and overflowing with emotion. Family life is filled not only with joy, but also with conflicting schedules, obligations, and challenges. With this reality, how do we live peacefully in our homes?
Jewish values provide us with guidance that helps generate peaceful interactions in our home.
- Simplicity (Histapkut): Simplify your family life as much as possible; be aware that commotion causes undue stress in children.
- Order (Seder): Everyday routines are calming and comforting to children. Knowing what to expect can alleviate conflict.
- Patience (Sav’lanut): Children need more time to accomplish tasks than adults do. Our patience will allow them to accomplish their objectives with less anxiety.
- Loving Kindness (Chesed): We tend to respond with kindness when treated in a loving and kind manner. This shapes our relationships as kindness blossoms and spreads to others.
- Forgiveness (S’lichah): Try to be forgiving and not dwell on the mistakes family members make. Anger and resentment generate tension in family relationships.
- Honor (Kavod): Being mindful of what we say and how we say it is necessary to show respect to others. Always consider how your words will resonate with a family member. Remember that our children watch us and learn to communicate with others by modeling our actions.
- Silence (Sh’tikah): Develop a consistent habit of listening first and speaking less. Disagreements often arise because of a lack of communication.
Observe and enjoy how family times become more pleasurable when you are mindful of these values. Maintaining respectful loving relationships with family members is the foundation for Shalom Bayit.
Want to teach Jewish values to children? Mussar for Children: Jewish Values for Everyday Living Curriculum is the only Jewish values program geared specifically for young children. To purchase click here. Jewish values for children
The Mussar Institute
© 2015 Michelle Princenthal