If you have 30 seconds
Episode 1S 2024
Parenting teenagers can feel like navigating uncharted waters. The wisdom gleaned from the book of Genesis unveils an evocative narrative that mirrors the challenges of the journey of parenting, particularly that of fostering effective communication with our adolescents.
Picture this: A modern-day teenage Adam, in a moment of impulsivity, takes the family car without permission, leaving it with an unexpected dent. Fearing the impending storm of his father's anger, he retreats into the shadows.
In this pivotal moment, the timeless lesson from Genesis 3:9 comes alive. G-d poses the question to Adam, "Where are you?" Our sages interpret this as a deliberate attempt to engage in conversation before addressing Adam's transgression of eating the forbidden fruit. This approach provides a valuable lesson for modern relationships, especially with teenagers.
Rather than unleashing a torrent of frustration at a child’s misconduct, we can first imagine a different scenario. What if the father, channelling God's approach, took a breath and, with genuine concern, asked, "Where are you?" This simple question becomes the bridge to understanding and connection.
Applying this wisdom, we, as parents, can transform potential conflicts into opportunities for bonding. Picture a dialogue that begins not with accusations but with a warm "How are you?" or a curious, "Where are you up to in life?" These questions, inspired by G-d's deliberate engagement with Adam, lay the groundwork for communication. The result? A teenager who feels respected, understood, and more willing to share their experiences.
The moral of the story is clear: In the delicate dance of parenting, a connection builds a bridge, while a lecture erects a barrier. So, let's choose connection – it's the key to navigating the turbulent waters of teenagerhood together.
If you have 2 more minutes to invest in your relationships, read on.
Episode 1L 2024
Constructing Bridges: Lessons from Genesis for Everyday Life
While stitching the intricate tapestry of my life as a father to fourteen wonderful souls, I stumbled upon invaluable lessons that, regrettably, were borne out of my own missteps. It all started with a profound question from the depths of ancient wisdom, Genesis 3:9, where G-d posed to Adam the timeless query, "Where are you?" Little did I know that this inquiry would become the cornerstone of my journey in understanding and nurturing meaningful connections with my children.
As I stand before you today, I offer not just tips but advice culled from the heartaches and triumphs of fatherhood. Allow me to share with you the echoes of my experience, condensed into eight essential pointers that have shaped my approach to fostering communication within my family:
1. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
In the intricate dance of family dynamics, conversations can be emotionally charged or downright challenging. The key, I've learned, is to have a meticulously thought-out plan. A plan that can navigate through the turbulent waters of emotions and still anchor the ship of relationships positively.
2. Maintain emotional composure.
Picture this: a father standing at the threshold of a difficult conversation. His first step is taking a deep breath to ensure emotional composure. The raw power of dialogue can quickly transform into a personal storm if undertaken in the grip of anger.
3. Choose the right place.
In my journey, I discovered that the right environment is vital for the success of any difficult conversation. Sensitive matters deserve a private stage, away from the prying eyes and ears of others.
4. Choose the right time.
In the realm of fatherhood, timing is almost everything. A conversation initiated in the throes of agitation, hunger, or exhaustion is akin to planting seeds in barren soil – it yields no fruitful connection.
5. Pose open-ended questions.
The art of fostering communication involves asking questions that invite revelation. "Why did you do it?" "Is there a reason I should know about?" “What were your feelings at the time? “These are the keys to unlocking thoughtful discussions.
6. Focus on behaviour, not character.
On my journey, I've discovered that critiquing actions rather than character is the lynchpin of effective communication. "I can't trust you" becomes "Taking the car without permission is unacceptable."
7. Seek feedback for clarity.
As the discussion unfolds, one should employ a vital tool soliciting feedback. Before concluding any conversation, inquire about the other party's understanding, ensuring both are on the same page to avoid misunderstandings.
8. End on a positive note.
The climax of any dialogue is not a confrontation but a resolution wrapped in love. A hug and a sincere compliment, like a soothing balm, convey the complex emotions of disapproval of the actions and unconditional love.
And as the curtains draw on this narrative, let me leave you with a timeless truth – Every mountain is climbed one step at a time. Don't get discouraged by setbacks. Do what the clock does: Keep going.
In the symphony of life, let perseverance be your melody. Focus on the progress of your journey and cherish each step.
For more, go to https://www.jfc.org.au/inspiration-from-rabbi-lieder
For feedback Rabbi@LiederEducation.com
This publication is kindly sponsored by:
Tony & Robin Mitchell
In loving memory of their parents:
Schaindel bat Yitzchak ע"ה
Yeshayahu ben Chaim ע"ה
Avraham Fischel ben Yosef ע"ה
Chana Raizl bat Azriel HaKohen ע"ה