This past Sunday, Lubavitch Center & Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh hosted a lecture given by Rabbi Shmuel Lew entitled “Raising Chassidishe Children.” Rabbi Lew is a noted shliach, educator and speaker from London, England. Around 100 people attended the event.
The main point of Rabbi Lew’s talk centered around two aspects: communication with one’s children, and parents as role models. Dr. Michael Moritz, who attended the lecture, said the event may have been called “Raising Chassidishe Children” but that the talk itself contained universal advice on actually raising children, regardless of one’s religious affiliation.
Dr. Moritz repeated a quote from Rabbi Lew who joked that “anytime a teenager will need your help or have something they need to talk to you about, it will inevitably happen after 11:00 at night.” He acknowledged the frustrations parents often have when raising children, but explained how to use those difficult moments as an opportunity to bond with one’s children in order to grow closer as a family.
Rabbi Lew also stressed the importance of showing children that you (the parent) deeply love and care for them. Rabbi Eliezer Shusterman, who also attended the event, mentioned that the rabbi’s speech was based on a 1982 talk given by the Lubavitcher Rebbe about proper communication and being a Dugma Chaya – role model.
After the lecture, there was a question & answer session. One issue that a parent brought up was regarding the dangers of overexposure to technology, and how the internet can potentially influence children negatively. People wanted to know how they should deal with their children’s interest in technology. Rabbi Lew said that the focus should be on the connection you have with your child, meaning that it’s better to inspire a child in his or her Judaism so that the child will ultimately choose proper standards, rather than “banning” the internet. Promoting the desire to do the right thing will prove much more effective than trying to keep the child away from technology.
“It was heartwarming to see the amount of parents who came out, at a last minute notice, to be inspired by Rabbi Lew’s insights on raising frum, chassidishe children,” said Rabbi Yisroel Rosenfeld, dean of the school.