It’s like I’ve raised two different families.
I’m not new to parenting. I have one married child, and a number of others still in yeshiva and school. We got married just two years before Gimmel Tammuz and I remember how my husband and I wondered despairingly how in the world we would bring up children to be Chassidim in these dark times.
It was not easy. My older kids were typical children. They were generally well-behaved, but keeping them busy and happy during their spare time was a constant source of stress. There was the undeniable pull of the screens and the risks they posed, and the awareness that there was so little I could control, especially when they were at a friend’s home.
Some mornings brought an actual fight to get them out of the house, and off to a classroom where they felt they had nothing to look forward to. And in the evenings, all too often were the gut-wrenching phone calls with the teachers desperately working on ways to motivate my disenchanted child.
If someone would have told me just seven years ago how things would change, I would not have believed them. That one day my beautiful but very regular children would join a movement of kids who dedicate their spare time to learning Torah. That they would be so proud of their knowledge and share it at the Shabbos table and whenever a guest was over. That in school, they would constantly amaze their teachers with the wide range of topics they are familiar with. That this movement would make them into confident, happy, and passionate children, affecting every other area of their lives.
I would have described this as nothing but the times of Moshiach. I could never believe this would happen with my own children during the times of Golus.
But it’s true. By joining the Chidon Sefer Hamitzvos, my younger kids have become part of a movement. A movement of children all over the world who study the 613 mitzvos together, who are special because they work hard and succeed. Their free time is no longer empty time to fill; it is an opportunity to learn for Chidon, whether through the full-color textbooks, audiobooks, or the online practice quizzes. Now I watch in amazement as my Chidon children head off confidently to school—wonderful, regular children with something to look forward to.
It’s all in anticipation of one weekend with a program whose worth cannot be overstated. Thanks to Rabbi Shimmy Weinbaum and the incredible staff at Tzivos Hashem, the high-energy, exciting, and inspiring four-day experience packed with trips, competitions, and activities is the talk of the year. And the highlight of it is the grand Chidon Game Show in which my eighth grader will actually take part to be tested on all 613 Mitzvos. Can you imagine naming any of the 613 Mitzvos and asking a child who, where or when this mitzvah applies? And she can actually give you the answer! It’s beyond belief!
But it’s not just about knowledge. It’s not just about an experience. It’s about reaching our children. Somehow, all the noise and distraction vying for our children’s attention, the Chidon has won in a big way. And in these volatile times, it’s a lifeboat for our precious children that we can’t afford to pass up on.
My children are not exceptional. They are the norm. But because of what Chidon has accomplished, this “second family” of mine is nothing like the first.
Chidon is running a campaign now called the ChidonDrive to support the movement, while at the same time helping to offset the fees so the Shabbaton is affordable for the parents, particularly families like mine who have multiple children in the running. As someone who sees firsthand the far-reaching effects of this program, I am eternally grateful, and the least I can do is to help get the word out.
How many op-eds have we read bemoaning the state of our chinuch “system” with no real solutions in sight? How many hours have we spent awake at night worrying, wishing, and wondering how to help our children succeed?
Now there is finally an answer.
This is not just another campaign. It is the future of our children. And what a great preparation for Moshiach’s times when we will in fact be able to fulfill all 613 mitzvos.
So respond when you get that link, or better yet, find the family you know on the website now, whether it’s your grandkids, neighbors or cousins. Be a part in this incredible revolution, for the sake of our children. www.ChidonDrive.com