Sunday’s Salanter Selection

 Rabbi Yisrael Salanter use to say:  When a child plays with a piece of wood in the bath, and he pretends that it is a ship, if we take the piece of wood away from him he has the same experience as an adult would have if a real ship of his sunk.  For the child, the piece of wood is like an adult’s ship.  When an adult interferes in a child’s play, he steals something from the child. (From Zeriah ubinyan bechinuch by R Shlomo Wolbe z”tl, translated as Planting and Building by R Leib Kelemen)

There are times when we ask our kids to stop playing a game or a Lego construction breaks and our children get upset.  Until I read this, my reaction usually was, “It’s only a game.” or “You can build it again”.  R Salanter shows great insight into the mind of a child, because what he is playing or pretending is his reality.  Hopefully, showing sensitivity to our children when they are young will help them grow to be sensitive to others.

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