Ten Ways to Help Your Children Have a More Meaningful Yomin Noraim

1. Explain to your children how Hashem actively seeks ways to forgive, and will forgive them – even if the best they can do is want to do teshuva.

2. Remind them that Yiddishkeit is not all-or-nothing – that their aveiros do not invalidate their mitzvos or diminish Hashem’s love.

3. Model the virtue of personal growth by sharing your own goals to improve a particular mitzvah or middah, or by working to improve something together with your children.

4. Urge them to privately recall something they wish they could undo, and reassure them that now is their opportunity to erase whatever they regret.

5. Share your personal stories of Hashgacha Pratis with your children to demonstrate Hashem’s direct involvement in your family’s day-to-day lives.

6. Encourage your children to focus on two or three things they truly appreciate as constant reminders of Hashem’s benevolence in their own lives.

7. Sincerely ask your children for mechilah during the Yomim Noraim to teach that everyone can make mistakes, and are equally worthy of being forgiven.

8. Suggest they undertake a small goal to improve their Yiddishkeit with reassurance that the most proper and effective way to grow is through small, obtainable steps of self-improvement.

9. Make a special effort during the Yomin Noraim to model Hashem’s middah of patience, compassion and forgiveness in your interactions with your spouse and children.

10. Show your children they are the center of your world. Postpone a meeting or ignore a phone call to make time for them so they’ll feel cherished and can comprehend that Hashem, too, considers them the center of His world.

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8 comments on “Ten Ways to Help Your Children Have a More Meaningful Yomin Noraim

  1. Yaarot Debash, Volume 1 of 2, Derush 1, page 1:

    Fortunate is the person who does not allow one minute of them [the ten days of repentance from Rosh HaShanah to Yom Kippur] to pass by without occupying himself with the service of G_d and thoughts of repentance.

    This concept probably also applies to the entire month of Elul.

    Rabbi Yehonatan Eybeschutz was born in Kraków (Poland) in 1690, became dayan [Rabbinical Judge] of Prague (Czech Republic) in 1736, became Rabbi of Metz (northeast France near Germany) in 1741, and died in Altona (Germany) in 1764.
    Yaaros Devash volume 1 was published in Lvov in 1798; volume 2 in 1799.

    Want quick Torah quotes for your Shabbat table?
    Or for love of Torah any time?
    Go to the DerechEmet yahoo group, or just click on my name.

  2. I’d like to add to Judy’s comment that many of the young girls earnestly recounting their aveiros believe that these “aveiros” are what’s keeping them from finding a shidduch. I wish there were a way for them to feel they’re doing meaningful tshuva without blaming themselves for their situations.

  3. Also, these suggestions are best realized as part of an ongoing year-round program, as opposed to a crash course or cramming. Micha is right that the best impression comes from implementation they can see.

  4. You forgot #11, which is worth more than all the others combined:

    11- Get a mirror, say 1-10 to myself, and implement them!

    Without us as role models, all the teaching in the world won’t compensate.

  5. My children should have a meaningful yomtov? Well, of course they should. But this does remind of me of what they say in the airplane safety instructions: If you are traveling with children who need assistance putting on the oxygen mask, first secure your own mask!

    An unconscious parent not being very much help with the old child care during a scary air travel moment.

    I think my kids have a lot more meaningful Yomin Noraim experience than I do, but then again the youngest of them is already twelve.

  6. Our shul has many mothers of babies and small children. They only come to shul on Simchas Torah, when it’s OK to make a lot of noise. So what happens on the Yamim Noraim is that the ladies’ section has two or three grannies like me, and the rest of the seats are filled by earnest young schoolgirls with tabs in their Yamim Noraim machzorim, clopping away during Viduy because they might have been chutzpadik once to their parents and teachers.

  7. 3/8 are great.
    Last night R Frand spoke in Chicago and stressed the connection between Teshuva and Shabbos. His thrust was that we need to make Shabbos (which recharges us) more meaningful by:
    a)Learning more about Shabbos
    b)Doing something to make Shabbos more Kodesh- daven slower, come to shul earlier
    c)Prepare for Shabbos. Shabbos, he said, is unique in that the preparation is a mitzvah unto itself. Prepare by helping around the house, work on a d’var Torah for the table, etc.

    I posted a link to my recording of the shiur on my blog.

    I usually don’t self-promote people to read my blog, but the shiur was excellent.

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