Product placement

Yesterday I was in a Walgreens to pick something and partake in my once a month crazy habit.
After not finding what I had hoped to find, I continued down the candy aisle. I started laughing. The aisle stared out with candy, then progressed to energy/sports bars, and finally there was shelving at the end of the aisle filled with weight-loss products. HaHaHaHa!

This is gevaldik product placement! What better way to get someone to buy a pill to curb your appetite, than to stick it right next to all the candy. It worked for me. I started thinking (for a minute) if I really even needed to be looking any candy, at all? I could use a pill to help me loose weight, or even some exercise. I suppose some people might use the same approach in chinuch in schools or at home. The “let me show you how NOT to act and then maybe you’ll decide that you really don’t WANT to go down that path” approach is often applied when people use terms like “at risk” or “the hashkafic GPS is broken” (my term for “off whatever derech”). From what I’ve read (and heard from people) a major factor in this trend is not is seeing a genuine Simchas HaChaim in people who are Torah observant.

As I left the store I started thinking about what “products” I want my children to “purchase” from me, their teachers, friends, and our community. I recall listening to Rav Moshe Weinberger’s Inspired Parenting series, (either tape 5 or 6), and hearing that our kids notice exactly when and what we are excited about. Rav Weinberger gives two examples:
1) A mother who can’t wait to go shopping with her daughter when there’s an amazing sale, yet doesn’t get excited about Yom Tom
2) A father who goes to a ball game with his son and screams and cheers the whole time, yet during davening Shabbos morning, he can barely get enough energy to say the words in the siddur

I am not against shopping or sporting events, believe me. But, the responsibility we have by having little eyes watching us is great. I see it in my own kids, in different ways. My 8 yr old, who attends shul with me on Shabbos morning, amazed me by sitting down when the man who makes Kiddush for the minyan sat down to make Kiddush for everyone. I was amazed because when I asked him about why he sat, my son told me, “because I see you sit.”
My 5 yr old, when playing with her 15 month old sister often will use the same phrases and gestures that my wife uses when interacting with the baby.
And even the baby will give kisses to her doll or try to kiss the mezuzzah, all because that is she sees. Product placement seems to be key when you have consumers living with you.

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