“I really admire Yaakov and Yaffa,” Efrat said to Leah as they watched the chuppah procession. “Every one of their children has grown into a gem of a person. Good middot, success in learning and chessed too. I wonder what’s their secret?”
“I think it’s dinner,” Leah said with a smile.
“I don’t think being a good cook has a direct correlation to successful chinuch,” Efrat replied.
“I’m not referring to the food; I’m talking about the time spent as a family at the dinner table. The more dinner time, the better the young adults,” Leah said.
Previous generations didn’t have to deal with today’s busy lifestyle and two-income families. Because everyone is so busy, families don’t spend a lot of time together. Once upon a time, parents would sit with their children most nights of the week. Talking about the day’s events, sharing ideas and principles, created family values that were passed on from generation to generation. Today, rather than spend 200 or more meals together per year, even on Shabbat and Yamim Tovim people are hard pressed to share value-building time together. On weeknights, one parent or the other, or even both, can’t arrange to be home for dinner. Even when the hour’s not so late and the kids are awake, adults are worn to the point that they prefer a quiet, child-free meal rather than to sit with their noisy offspring. The Pesach theme of “tell your children” is a valuable tool that should be used as often as one can throughout the year.
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
When engaging in outreach, our primary goal should be to educate others in mitzvah observance and introduce them to the study of Torah. However, it’s important that they come to recognize and appreciate the Torah’s stress on ethics and character development. Study materials should include works of mussar.
Moreover, the instructor should, through his own behavior and attitudes, serve as an example of the Torah’s lofty standards. (Rav Yehudah Zev Segal, Inspirations and Insight, vol. 2, p. 144)