Kiruv Kerovim: On Guard In The Yard – Children Of Our American Neighborhood

kiruv krovimPart One in a series: Who is A Korev? From what point in time? By: Aaron Joseph. An Overview: Every serious word concerning the welfare of our children must be weighed with much deliberation even before being spoken. So I write today with much forethought, surely not to convince you of nor argue for any point. The goal herein is not personal and is stated simply to raise awareness only.
Please read this series with forbearance, and please bear in mind that these printed lines are not Bible nor Scripture, and surely not a final say on the subject matter. You as the parent are always, or should always, be the final say.
Let us start from the very beginning. Who is the Korev? From what point in time?
In this twilight age of Golus that we live in, coupled with the rich heritage of freedom these United States bestows in abundance, we cannot help but understand the influences that surround us on all sides. Golus, and freedom, are gulped with each breath. No matter the fence height, we must always stand on guard in the yard. Sadly, sometimes, it is not enough.
It is generally true that a thirteen-year-old child “hanging-out” somewhere unsupervised at 1:00 A.M. is displaying an already acute sign of trouble, if not outright rebellion. Some may call 1:00 A.M. acute independence; others would call it negligence. Yet whatever the term used to summarize this behavior, it is unorthodox vis-à-vis the accepted childhood norm. Obviously, trouble or rebellion, or call it what you may, does not start at thirteen years of age. However, can seven-years-old sound too young?
Perhaps at seven-years-old a child’s frustrations are cloaked in his quiet submission. His trouble or rebelliousness might be taking root even at a more tender age, and might just be lying dormant, even now. There might be a way to detect this though.
While countless Chinuch books and methods are in circulation, one general philosophy has yet to be refuted. Specifically, as a parent, you are in position to be the closest to your child. There is a simple yet cardinal rule of parenthood. That is, as his or her parent, your child is relative to only you. This is true no matter which Chinuch method you choose to use.
Your child is your flesh and blood. A child resembles you in feature, yes, but internally- even more so. You the parent must write the instruction book for your unique creation, part of which reflects you. Chanoch L’Naar Al Pi Darko. Who can know him and his ways better? Who should know him better?
Hashem chose you as this Neshoma’s lifetime guardian. You are its protector, its instructor, and you are tasked to nurture, mold, inspire, and fortify it. The job is fulltime, always, for lifetime. Refining and influencing, from the most mundane through the most intimate. Yours is the obligation of firmly establishing this child into maturity and adulthood. This may seem a daunting task, albeit a task you have created fulfilling God’s will. This is your life’s most important job; a job that only you are completely qualified to do successfully, and only you are fully responsible to accomplish completely.
A common misconception shared by some is one of a “shared educational responsibility.”
Many people assume that an outsiders’ input will only-assist-you in this lifelong task of rearing your Godsend. This can be true to some degree, but not fully, and… some perceive failure by those outsiders- the failure to meet those high standards you have set; (even beyond those standards you are capable of achieving yourself) as a cause for blame shifting, and even resignation. That is wrong, very wrong! Blaming others is a potently subtle lesson a child learns; an abhorrent lesson absorbed from his eternal role model.
It is true that there is a network of fully functional communal organizations geared for the specific purpose of childcare. Yes, the full gambit of Klal Yisroel’s Chesed is always there for you and your precious ones. However, nothing, no way – no how, can replace you, the parent, nor your inherent responsibilities. Can there be a more suitable role model than you the parent? Does your child have a more ultimate Korev?
I would like to end this first piece with one non-provocative thought. While this idea cannot help those 1:00 A.M. children of tonight, it might be worthy of consideration by way of prevention. This is to be understood only as a probing piece of Kiruv Kerovim philosophy, not law!
How much would any parent pay or give, how much would they sacrifice, if only to be able to re- establish a troubled thirteen-year-old child from his or her 1:00 A.M. escapades? What amount would parents pay to prevent it? After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. How much might the total cost amount to, of rehabilitating this child?
Is it possible, that spending a full year, or two or three with your child might perhaps instill within him those priceless values, your values, that would permanently bond him to you and your expectations; this when you are the young parent and your child is in his first most indelible and impressionable years of life.
Understandably, income level aside, there is a need for parents, sometimes a very great need, to get out every day, to just get away a bit. Yet, might this need to get out and get away a bit, be reflected just a few years later; mirrored in your child’s need to get out and get away a bit as well? The youngest informal years are priceless moments of investment. 1:00 A.M. is a hefty price.
Can there be a greater investment? Is it worth the price?
Up next: Teffila L’Ani ….It’s infinite power.

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  1. “Mr. Joseph” who are you and what is your background? In Rabbi R. Greenwalds words”everybody knows exactly how to fix his neighbors kid,why didn’t he (g-d) just exchange the kids & solve all the problems”?

  2. We should all spend much more time with our kids. Simple but powerful message. I agree, they are more important than the shul, the school, our social obligations, and the neighbors opions.

  3. Can you cite statistics about the 1:00AM crowd that points to them having had mothers who worked longer hours? Perhaps some children are better off away from their parents or some parents are better parents when they are not home with kids all day. In any case you have absolutley nothing to back up your hypothosis.

  4. Speaking as one who knows first hand, the amount of money spent on “rehabilitating” a teen-at-risk is more exorbitant than the amount of money earned during the crucial growing up years. The agmus nefesh during the teen-at-risk years is not worth the menuchas hanefesh of being out during the growing up years.

  5. I want to compliment TLS for publishing articles like this. Forget political correctness and deal with the issues. Yasher koach

  6. The point the Writer of this article is trying to make I believe touches on one of the most underlying causes of “kids at risk” and something that hits to much and to close to home to certain people and they will quickly write off the author as inexperienced or unprofessional that being said I don’t know the author and never heard of him before but what I’ve came to notice over my years of thinking what was a major cause of me and a lot of my friends “going. off” or not to actually point a finger to the excact cause but to bring out a huge factor,is parents and mechanchim are quick to blame society,bad friends tv then the internet while all those are facilitators of kids at risk they aren’t the actual cause. A kid with a healthy relationship with his family,friends and teachers/rebbiem wants to do good in their eyes and will never want to hurt them or have them look down on him/her. But once a child feels allienated for a variety of reasons whether it be not enough attention and love at home or not having the brains/patience to succeed at schools at the required level established by the “system” then they lose that feeling of needing to impress and succeed and look good in the eyes of parents/teachers etc. And lose that BONDand TRUST! And then its just a matter of time they look elsewhere for that satisfaction and we all know where that leads

  7. It sounds to me that Mr. Joseph is suggesting that parents are Hashem’s messenger to raise their own children. I think he is also relating that a parent should be in position to detect and prevent and deal with issues that may arise in their children’s life.

    #3 suggests that the time factor, or parent job is a statistic. Simply change the variables. Say its 11:30pm and a 11 year old doing something outrageous. Or a 17 year old somewhere with her “friends,” drinking beer.

    #3 Suggests parents might be better parents when they are not around their children. At that point, you are not a parent. Parent infers with children. Who said you have to be a “great parent”, or even a “good parent”, you must be a “PARENT.” It might be a challange- so be it. Thats your job.

    Solid article.

  8. “Rabbi” the main reason for the 1 AM children. Indeed perhaps the 3 am adults. is the lack of backbone and cowardice they see in their community and environment. When children get the impression that their parents really dont have a clue or care enough to have one, they feel the need to rebel.

    As an adult, I wonder what kind of a community it is that we live in, where a well though out and well written article such as the one you wrote- must remain anonymous?

    It may not be a reflection of the cowardice of the author, as to why this was done. He may be afraid of people disagreeing with his opinion-this may have repercussions he is not prepared to deal with.

    But it does say something about our community where often one’s opinions must be kept to themselves, or if not it must be kept anonymous.

    People are fearful being criticized and stigmatized, along with the community consequences for being challenged, such as not letting your kids into school, etc. How much of our lives, do we live to serve others, instead of hashem?

  9. This article is dumb. Go down forest ave at 1 am any day of the week. What are these kids, yes kids, doing there? “Outsiders imput?” Just say what you mean. It is kids being kids. Nothing more and nothing less. Good job #3.

  10. although it may be necessary for a mom to work, how many of us are out several evenings a week attending parlor meetings, teas, chinese auctions, parenting classes(!) dinners, bar mitzvahs, weddings, vorts, etc?
    THis is an even more important area to change, since school age kids are at school anyway during work hours, but home in the evenings- with their parents.

    I propose that the community as a whole realize this and perhaps make the following changes, which will address this issue, as well as save all of us alot of time and money.
    –discontinue vorts. biggest waste of time and money.
    a quick lechaim for the local folks who want to run over and say mazel tov should be enough, as well as a phone call for longer distance friends and relatives.

    –bar mitzvahs – invite only immediate family, no friends.
    it will be a much more cozy and meaningful affair.

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