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'When you grow up you’ll understand'

Friday, 4 May, 2012 - 4:56 am

This coming Tuesday my family and I will be marking the 14th Yahrtzeit of my father OBM. I have written before about my admiration to him, his tragic passing and the legacy he has left us. Today I would like to share with you a little story with a great lesson, which guides me, especially ever since I have become a father.

It was when I went with my father and my siblings to the big bicycle store in Tzfat to fix our bike. My youngest brother, who was about three then, didn't stop asking questions about the store, the owner, the equipment, the costumers and everything else he saw around...

While my father was answering his questions patiently, we started to feel embarrassed and tried to get our brother to be quiet...

My father turned to me and said "not only should you never stop a young child from asking questions, you should make sure to always answer them. Never dismiss a question because the child is ‘too young to understand’ or ‘doesn’t need to know everything’. No matter what a child asks - you can always find an answer appropriate to their level".

Since I had my own children, this episode flashes in my mind often. It tells me to never ignore my children's questions, even in the busiest times, and to never tell them 'when you grow up you’ll understand', I can say “I don’t know”, but I will try to always find some kind of answer which will encourage them to continue to learn and grow.

I remind myself of the importance of every word we tell our children, because what children hear when they are young - will stay with them forever, just like the lesson my father taught me in the big bike store in the city of Tzfat.

Comments on: 'When you grow up you’ll understand'



Elisabeth Gelb wrote...

Shalom Rabbi,
We've returned from 3 wonderful weeks in Eretz Yisroel. One of our memorable stops was the incredible Tzfat Chabad Center where we met with Rabbi Kaplan. We were with friends experiencing Israel for the first time and the Rabbi answered their questions with patience and enthusiasm. Young or old, we appreciate answers to our questions. Thank you Rabbi for reminding us that this invaluable lesson begins with our kinder.

Dede wrote...

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