Communications – A Message from Rabbi Dovid Felt
The first step in any relationship is communication. There is no one that will tell you that you can create, maintain or advance a relationship without communication. This is true for spouses, parents with their children and teachers and Rebbeim with their students. I would like to spend the next few weeks elaborating on these three different types of relationships and to highlight how vital communication is for each of them in the development of your children.
Communication between spouses is critical but what has that got to do with the development of our children? Well, the first place children look to for guidance is their parents. Significant theories of human development such as the socialization theory (Oetting & Donnermeyer, 1998), biopsychosocial theory (Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) and Vygotsky’s (1978) social development theory that base their entire premise on the idea that our children acquire their values and even religious beliefs by observing, learning from and being influenced by their parent’s behaviors, whether explicitly or implicitly.
This translates to us as parents, making sure we are on the same page as our spouse. It also means that we spend the time discussing with our spouse how to handle different situations that may arise. Being aware that what we say and what we do can have a long term impact on our children and it is not only a component of our children’s development but it is also part of our own personal development.
This is achieved through effective communication, which is more than just exchanging information; it’s also about understanding the emotion behind the information. Moshe Rabbeinu berated Yehosua for not being able to detect the sound that Bnei Yisroel was making while serving the golden calf. The Possuk says שומע אני ענות קול – I hear the sound of those who sing. Why did Yehosua need to discern the difference in sounds coming from the “camp”? My Rebbi explained that a leader needs to be able discern the difference in the voices of every individual – In order to lead, one needs to have the level of sensitivity that allows you to hear the emotion behind the voice. That is the hallmark of a true leader and if we want to be leaders in our lives, we need to acquire this trait.
Do you know what time your son is going to sleep? Yes, sure bedtime is 10:00 or 10:30 with lights out definitely by 11:00. But wait, is that when your son is actually going to sleep? With a smartphone that connects him to his friends, and to the world at large, how accurate is the bedtime we agree upon? A good idea is to have a charging station in the kitchen or a room away from the bedrooms and everyone including us leave our phones there to charge for the night maybe then we can be assured that our sons are charged for the next day at school..