Aug 17, 2010

Imprinting the Positive

R' Abraham J. Twerski wrote an article called "Speaking about the Unspeakable" in which he says we should talk to our children about drugs.  He asks, "how will our children learn about the evils of drug use if we don’t talk to them about it?" As for those whose children are sheltered he says, "The greatest danger is not being aware that one exists." 

Li'Shichno sidrishu u’vasa shama” - seek His Presence and come there (Re’eh 12:5). The Ponevezher Rov asked why is it that when the Torah tells us to build a Bais HaMikdash, the location is not clearly stated, i.e. the pasuk never refers to Yerushalayim?

He contrasts this to the Arei Miklat (Cities of Refuge) where the Torah tells us “tachin lecha ha'derech”, and Chazal explain that the roads should have signs at every junction pointing in the direction of the Arei Miklat. The reason for this, he explains, is that the accidental murderer, in his flight to safety, should not need to stop and ask directions because we don’t want everyone to know that a murder took place since it will desensitize the people to murder.  Sins, even unintentional ones, should not be discussed.   On the other hand when a person is going to the Bais HaMikdash we want him to stop everyone along the way to ask for directions to awaken in them the desire to go to the Bais HaMikdash too.

The Chinuch Malchusi says that we learn from here that you should not teach your children through negative examples. Do not point out the wrongdoings and teach them its evils and how they must avoid it. In a sense this will open up their thoughts and teach them all sorts of bad things that they would have surely avoided had they come upon it themselves.

A distinguished mechanech once related that when he was a young boy many years ago (before drugs were a huge problem) in school in the Bronx, they brought in an officer from the Drug Enforcement Agency who brought in many kinds of drugs and gave them a lecture about avoiding each one. This mechanech said that it was very educational to the bulk of his class who ended up on drugs!

Good education means monopolizing the mind with positive lessons, examples, and stories. Just like the questions on the way to the Bais HaMikdash, this attitude will help the children find the Shechina after a longer but very successful journey.

As a community, online or otherwise, we should speak about all the good that Jews do and there is so much good!  It is very demoralizing and a spiritual downer to read and hear, time and again, about sins and crimes that are committed.  Highlight the positive!


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  4. Ok and now that I've actually had a chance to read this piece that I commented off topic on, I'll comment on topic.
    I get what you are saying but since the drugs do exist how are you supposed to teach the kids to stay away from them without telling them about it?
    How do you teach a child not to touch fire without telling them it's hot?
    Would you say the same in regards to talking to them about child predators?

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