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December 5, 2014

Student safety

by Rabbi Dovid Felt

Reflecting on the academic rigor during the school year, you will find different intensities associated with different times. For example, the beginning of the year the atmosphere is intense; students are focused and driven. This intense atmosphere is replicated during the week before quarter grades and semester finals. Then there are times when the environment is relaxed such as vacation times and during the Shabbaton season. And then there are the times when you just have to push forward.  For example, during the winter when the going gets tough, there is not much to look forward to and all your time is taken up by ball practice, community service or other assorted commitments you have undertaken and you still need to keep up with all class work.

How one manages these up and downs is really what sets students apart. Students who know how to pace themselves and stay ahead of the curve are the one’s that will have a better chance at being successful later in life. The student who works in spurts is going to end up struggling and without any real support will not get through unscathed. As parents we have a responsibility to support our children however, what are the guidelines for that support.

In this weeks Parsha we find that Yaakov told Esau that it would not be wise for them to travel together. Based on the commentaries, Yaakov’s argument was that if he travelled at the same speed as Esau he was afraid that his children would Chas V’Shalom get hurt and he has a responsibly to keep them safe. The question posed is why didn’t Yaakov maintain that he didn’t want his children to get hurt because he loved them? One of the answers to this question is that a parent’s true obligation to their child stems from their need to keep their child safe rather than from love.Even though it is difficult to imagine a parent not loving their child however, love is subjective and can be inconsistent whereas making sure your child is safe is fundamental and a constant.

In considering our child’s academic future we need to acknowledge that Chazal places the obligation for a child to learn a profession on his parents. Chazal even go as far as equating learning a profession to learning Torah (Kiddushin 30b). This should tell us how significant our child’s education is and give us an idea of how far we need to go to provide the support they need. We are fortunate to have a school that acts as surrogate parents, working together with the school as a partner supporting our child/student is the surest way for them to be successful in an ever-changing world.

Felt Tips

As a student, some of the major challenges we face are being organized, keeping on top of work due and finding time to do all the things we would like to do. Fortunately, there are numerous apps that can assist. First we can try the default apps that come with most standard phones or tablets. However, there are also a number of great apps that combine the reminder, calendar and clock app into one that make it more efficient. There are also school specific apps that can track class work with homework and provide the necessary alarms to make sure you are not tardy with your assignments. From my experience they are all good it is just a matter of actually using them!

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