We sent our two daughters to Yerushaliyim yesterday to spend Shabbos with some friends there. I love the idea of just sending kids on intercity buses without escort—something very Israeli about it. That means it’s going to be a MAN’S Shabbos (with my wife as the woman-in-residence). It will be full of meat and drink, song and story!!!
That, or most likely, the boys will simply be fighting with each other the whole Shabbos. Sigh…
“Let Hashem, G-d of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the community” (Bamidbar 27:16).
“Moshe prayed, ‘Master of the Universe! You know the mind of each and every one of them and they are not alike. Appoint over them a leader who will accept each one according to his unique way of thinking’” (Rashi).
When Rav Shach was a rebbe in the yeshiva of Kletzk, the Moshgiach of the yeshiva, Rav Yechezkel Levenstein, would meet with him every morning before davening to discuss each boy in the yeshiva.
Rav Levenstein believed that certain students required a warm relationship with him, while others were better off receiving a rebuke from him and a warmer relationship with Rav Shach. This is how their students were treated, each one according to his own needs.
Obviously, this does not only apply to teachers, but also, and more importantly, to parents as well. My wife once heard from a well-known educator that one of the biggest contributions to sibling rivalry is when the parents treat their kids exactly the same. “Since you got this, so does your brother." Your sister received a prize from school, so I’ll give you a prize as well."
Years ago, she asked a parent what her key to success was. They have a large family, small income, and all the kids were amazing. She was told that she and her husband constantly speak together about each of the children and try their best to anticipate “what’s coming up” in their lives, so whenever that “something” comes up, they will already have an answer set with all their reasoning. Simply put: They were always prepared for each of their children’s needs.
One of the biggest factors in successfully raising children (so I hear), is to treat each one according to his ways and needs, as if each were an only child. With that, not only will they receive what THEY need, they will also feel loved as individuals should.
Have a great Shabbos!