As a parent who didn’t go through the days school/yeshiva system who has children currently in the system, have there been things that they have learned that suprised you in a postivie way?
The first thing that surprises me about them is the simple fact of the things that they know at a much younger age than I knew it. When I was starting to open a Chumash for the first time at 17 years old, it would take me a minute to break my teeth over pronouncing a two syllable Hebrew word. But my fourth grader has been saying all of bentching almost by heart for a year or two already. At 17, I only knew the really famous Bible stories and had never studied Parsha. My first grader mentioned at the Shabbos table that Rivka was from Charan, which is in Padan Aram!!! Gevalt!
This year, the kids are doing a program called “Derech,” short for “Derech Eretz Kadma LaTorah,” “Proper character traits are a pre-requisite to learning Torah.” They studied the concept of Tzelem Elokim, understanding that we must act and treat others in way that reflects consciousness of the fact that we are all created b’tzelem Elokim, in the image of G-d. This past week, they learned about making a Kiddush Hashem. The kids really get into the stories and the discussions about these things. They are a really good influence on them and it really gets their heads in the right place.
Although there are sometimes issues in the upper grades, my younger kids are just so much better off and live a much more wholesome life than outside of a nice yeshiva setting. They are truly fortunate to have such an upbringing today. We are very fortunate that we and our children’s friends don’t have televisions in the home. It is truly a bracha to be able to raise our children in such a way and be at less risk for all of the bad things that are considered normal outside the frum community.
I am surprised and amazed by how much the kids know at such a young age. They can read and understand so much Chumash, halacha, and Hebrew at such a young age. It’s beautiful to see how much a human being is capable of. Ashreinu u’matov chelkeinu, fortunate are we and how great our portion that we are able to send our children to such great schools, even when we were not able to have that kind of education!
Neil, I’d be interested to hear your answer to this question as well!