Raising a Child with Soul: How Time-Tested Jewish Wisdom Can Shape Your Child's Character

Raising a Child with Soul: How Time-Tested Jewish Wisdom Can Shape Your Child's Character

by Slovie Jungreis-Wolff


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, October 16


With the seemingly insurmountable pressures placed on families today, many parents lack the spiritual foundation and practical knowledge to chart a clear-cut course in child-rearing. Parents question whether nurturing their children's souls is even possible in the fast-paced materialistic culture in which we live. Utilizing the insight that springs from her knowledge of Torah wisdom, her personal experiences and the experiences of those she has counseled, Slovie Jungreis-Wolff, a longtime parenting coach and advisor to young couples and families teaches in detail how to approach the entire gamut of issues, with a special emphasis on strengthening the child's morality and character. Parents will learn how to:
• Instill simchas hachayim, "true joy," in their children
• Value chessed, kindness, in a self-absorbed world
• Create a mikdash me'at, a home filled with calm and reflection
• Teach children gratitude and appreciation
• And much more…
From discipline to sibling rivalry to effective communication skills, Raising a Child with Soul offers unique concepts and pragmatic ideas that can be understood and applied to both Jewish and non-Jewish households.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312541965
Publisher: St. Martin''s Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/06/2009
Edition description: Original
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 741,512
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Slovie Jungreis-Wolff is a freelance writer and parenting instructor. She is the daughter of Esther Jungreis, renowned rebbitzen, author of Life is a Test, The Committed Marriage, and The Committed Life and founder of Hineni International. Slovie has taught Hineni Young Couples and Parenting classes at the Hineni Heritage Center in New York City for more than ten years.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter one

Raising Spiritual Children

I gave birth to my son Eli on the holy day of Shabbos. Mendy and I couldn't wait to share the excitement with our family. As soon as the Sabbath was over, my parents drove our children to the hospital to see their new baby brother. We marched to the nursery, looking anxiously through the glass window. Bassinets were lined up in even rows, filled with little blankets of pink and blue. The distinct cries of newborns permeated the air. Finally, we spotted our baby. His soft brown eyes were wide-open. My father's face was aglow with joy. He turned to me and whispered, "This little soul has just arrived from heaven. Our sages teach us that in the heavens above he was learning Torah from the mouths of angels. He came into this world the purest of the pure. Watch over him, Slova Channahlah, and teach him well."

We are given these precious souls, and they are indeed a gift from Above. Parenting is not a simple road. There are many detours and challenges along the way. How do we know which direction to take? How do we know that the path we are leading them on is the best route available? What happens when we lose our way?

I have always been amazed at the amount of planning parents put into the minutest details of their babies' lives. Months before the baby is even born, the baby nurse, nursery colors, the brand of stroller, and even the preschool have all been discussed. As the child grows, so, too, does the List. Swim, karate, ballet, art, French, chess, and tennis lessons from the time they're tots—all ingredients that spell overload for both parents and children. We strive to give our children the best that we possibly can. We worry that they receive proper nutrition, cultural experiences, and an excellent education. What is most painful to me is the fact that rarely have I heard parents discussing their plan to develop their child's soul.

We have become so consumed with thoughts of our child being in the right place, with the right crowd, in the right clothing, but what have we done to help this child become a spiritual being—a person of substance and character? The problem becomes even more acute as our world becomes more obsessed with the pursuit of materialism. When was the last time you heard parents discussing their hopes for their child's moral development? I am afraid that more time is spent researching the type of car we buy than the type of child we hope to raise. We must ask ourselves which qualities we desire for our children. What kind of character traits do we wish to imbue in them?

Each week women are given the unique opportunity to pray for their children. As Jewish women all over the world kindle their Shabbos lights, they utter a plea that has been passed down from mother to daughter for thousands of years. Growing up, I watched my mother encircle the flames with her hands, cover her eyes, and whisper her prayer through her tears. Today, my children observe me each Friday night as I do the same.

I believe that this Sabbath prayer gives us the direction we need when raising our children. We ask G-d: "privilege me to raise children and grandchildren who are wise and understanding, who love G-d, children of truth, holy offspring . . . who illuminate the world with Torah and good deeds."

I kindle my Sabbath lights and beseech G-d to help me raise children who will contribute goodness to mankind, children who are blessed with kindness, honesty, compassion, love of G-d, and spirituality. I ask that my children discover courage and inner strength in a world that has been overwhelmed with fear and terror. I want so much more than merely polite children—manners is not a complicated subject. I pray for children who will possess a moral compass pointing them in the right path no matter how difficult the situation. In Yiddish, we call such an individual a mensch.

It is true that there are numerous books written by psychologists and psychiatrists on the subject of child-rearing. The problem is just that—an overabundance of books! Every few years new theories and ideas are introduced. We are told to discard the old techniques and try the latest new-and-improved approach. What is a parent to do? The beauty behind the Torah path to raising children is the fact that Torah is immutable. It is a constant, neverchanging, eternal truth.

The holy Torah was given to the Jewish people by G-d thousands of years ago. We study that very same Torah today. If you open your heart to its wisdom, you will find solutions for every situation you encounter, a way to approach and live your life. Since family is the center of Jewish life, the Torah is a virtual storehouse of information and knowledge concerning the creation of our home.

Decorating an apartment or renovating a house is easy. It is a far more arduous task to transform that house into a home, a haven of spiritual comfort and serenity. I have visited some incredibly beautiful homes. There were magnificent marble floors, lavish powder rooms, endless arrays of bedrooms, and toys enough for an entire kindergarten. As soon as I entered, though, I felt something was missing. A vital ingredient was absent. I realized that it was a sense of peace acquired by living with a spiritual connection that was absent. We try to provide physical and emotional security, but what about our children's spiritual security?


In Judaism we are taught that the key to our survival is the strength of our home. The Torah commands us: Veasu li mikdash veshachanti besocham. "They shall make a Sanctuary for Me so that I may dwell among them." Our sages teach us that these words include the understanding that if we build a home enveloped in sanctity, then G-d promises His presence within. We call this unique home a mikdash me'at—a sanctuary in miniature.

Understand that this is not about creating a physical place of worship. You don't need to build a temple or set up an ark in your living room to discover holiness within your life. It is, instead, a spiritual outlook that encompasses your home and that you take with you wherever you go. The Torah is giving us a personal invitation to embrace holiness in our daily moments of living. It is the way you speak, the way you conduct yourself, the way you relate to your spouse and children as you build your life together. Your entire perception is transformed as sanctity accompanies you throughout your days. It remains embedded deep within your soul.

Children who grow up in a home where the presence of G-d is consistently acknowledged are spiritual children. These families experience genuine warmth and blessing. They develop an awareness of G-d that provides comfort and fortitude even in the face of life's travails and difficulties. There is no life that is completely shielded from problems and pain. Yet, a child raised in a mikdash me'at sees all of life's challenges through a spiritual eye.

My family suffered a tremendous blow when my father was diagnosed with cancer. I vividly recall the moment when I heard the news. I had just finished teaching a class at the Hineni Center. As I was walking down the hall, I met my mother climbing up the stairwell. A single tear was rolling down her cheek. Her face was ashen. "What, Ema, what is it?" I asked, my heart pounding. When she told me of the doctors' diagnosis, I felt as if I would crumble. My father was ill? Impossible! Throughout his entire life, I had seen him only full of life and laughter. His six-foot-two frame and broad shoulders easily carried the weight of the world. There was no burden too heavy for him to bear. Whether it was his family or his congregation, his strong yet kindly presence was a constant reminder of his personal faith and courage. After taking leave of my father, you left the room filled with hope and gladness. His positive spirit was contagious. I can still hear his voice, as he would smile and say, "Shayfelah, my sweet little dear, don't worry. Everything will be all right." He had an extraordinary ability to allay my fears and apprehensions, and I always felt so much better after talking with him.

Now it was my father who had to face worry and fear. He was admitted to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, enduring excruciating treatments and extraordinary pain. Through it all, neither he nor my mother ever lost their faith. I watched, in awe and amazement, as my father transformed his gray hospital room into a place that exuded sanctity. He requested that his holy books be brought from home and transformed the windowsills into bookcases.

My mother never left my father's side. She was a constant companion to him, both day and night. My siblings and I spent every moment we could in the hospital, cherishing each precious second. One afternoon, my father and I had a few moments alone. He motioned to me to come closer. "Please bring me a Chumash, one of the five books of the Torah, and sit beside me," he said. "There is something that I want to tell you, shayfelah."

I brought him the Chumash and he asked that I open it to the portion of Vayechi, in the Book of Genesis. He went on to say: "I want you to read the portion where Jacob is ill. He is ready to leave this world, but before he does, he gives a blessing to his children. Read this out loud, Slova Channahlah."

My heart felt as if it was breaking, shattering into a million pieces. I turned to the verse my father pointed to and read aloud as he had requested. My voice trembled, yet I summoned the strength to read.

And it came to pass after these things that someone said to Joseph, behold your father is ill. So he took his two sons, Menashe and Ephraim with him. . . . So Israel exerted himself and sat up on the bed. . . . He blessed Joseph and he said, G-d before Whom my forefathers Abraham and Isaac walked . . . G-d who shepherds me from my inception until this day, may the angel who redeems me from all evil bless the children and may my name be declared upon them, and the names of my forefathers Abraham and Isaac.

GENESIS 48:1-16

There was silence in the room. "Listen to me," my father began. "When I came to this country so many years ago, I was all alone. I had lost everyone I loved, everyone. I walked through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Where should I go? What should I do? I was all alone. I didn't even know a word of English, but Hashem, G-d, surrounded me with angels. Do you know how I know? Because I met your ema, your zaydah, and your mama. Hashem gave us beautiful children. We started a family and I saw life again. I never thought that I'd see life again."

I began to sob loudly and buried my face in the soft crevice of my father's neck. "But I had the angels of Jacob with me," he continued. Tears rolled down his cheeks slowly. "And now I know that my time has come to leave you. So what could I possibly give you, my child? I was thinking, what would have a lasting meaning? A piece of jewelry? Some money? Of course not." He took my face in his hands and said, "I leave you with my blessing, the blessing of our father Jacob. I leave you with the blessing of the angels. May they always surround you and watch over you and your children and your children's children."

I will never forget that day. My father's voice remains in my memory, engraved in the depths of my heart. I know that he gave me and my children his most precious gift; he gave me his final blessing.

Parents who create a mikdash me'at, a small sanctuary, can bring light and peace even into a dark and dismal hospital room. They can infuse their children with unique fortitude and strength. I will always be my father's daughter, replete with his blessing to face the challenges of life with faith and resolve. As a parent, you have the awesome opportunity to offer the same precious gift to your child. Mikdash me'at is the key. Let us now unlock our hearts.


One Sunday morning, Mendy and I took a trip into Manhattan with our children. We decided to spend the day at Chelsea Piers, an enormous sports complex on the Hudson River. Once inside, the kids decided to attempt the rock-climbing wall. My then four-year-old son, Akiva, insisted on joining his older siblings as they began their ascent. I watched him, harnessed in ropes, as his little figure grew smaller with each step. My heart beat just a little quicker until he finally made it down. I ran over and hugged him hard. "Akiva, weren't you scared?" I asked. "You were so high, so far away!"

He looked at me for a second and then replied simply: "No, Mommy. Of course I wasn't afraid. Why should I be? I was connected!"

It dawned on me that this small child had just uncovered a significant truth. You can go through an array of life experiences, some quite difficult to bear; however, if you feel connected to a higher source, you never have to be afraid.

There is no question that today's world can be awfully frightening. We are the generation of 9/11. Newspapers are glutted with painful images of war and human suffering. Our children's vocabulary is vastly unlike our own when we were growing up.

Terrorists, suicide missions, roadside bombs, and high school massacres are now common terms in our vernacular. We need only enter the island of Manhattan to see soldiers with machine guns checking out suspicious vans and trucks. Our televisions and the Internet vividly bring the world's disasters into our living rooms. Portraits of grief and terror can shake our children to their very core. Sadly, our children are subjected to this, all before we even attempt to deal with the many difficult childhood struggles that life brings our way.

Enter the world of mikdash me'at. No matter how burdensome a child's day has been he returns to his haven unafraid. Here walls are fortified with more than expensive hardware. A powerful, spiritual bond allows him to rise above life's challenges with renewed strength.

A life imbued with moments of personal sanctity help us create meaning and purpose as we transmit this wisdom to our children.

We, as parents, can enable our children to forge a unique connection with G-d. We have the ability to harness them with pure faith as they scale the various mountains of life. Though there will surely be deep crevices along the way, this spiritual bond allows each child to go forth, motivated and empowered. The challenge we parents face is: how do we construct this mikdash me'at? How do we build this metaphysical sanctuary so that the essence of G-d becomes a constant presence within its walls?

It is not an easy task for families today to prevail. One out of every two marriages ends in divorce. Those marriages that do survive are often riddled with strife and miscommunication. Financial pressures may consume the serenity that was once found within the walls of our homes. Many parents work all day and are exhausted upon returning home at night. When dad (and often mom), finally walk through the door, the children are too busy on their computers, PlayStations, or cell phones to notice. Some families don't even talk together anymore; instead they text message each other to keep in touch. Instead of growing closer, our children end up growing apart from one another and from us. We have become like two ships just passing in the night. Tragically, our mikdash me'at is crumbling. The fabric of our homes is unraveling and fraying at the edges.

In creating our haven, our first priority is to develop a personal relationship with G-d. Most people believe that there are two partners in creation; father and mother. We are taught by our sages that this thought is erroneous. There are really three partners in creation; father, mother, and G-d Himself. From the moment a couple discovers that they are to become parents, this personal relationship begins. There is so much to pray for, so many hopes and dreams for which we yearn.

The Creator of the Universe has chosen this specific soul to be brought into this world through you. Raising this child with soul becomes your life mission. What an awesome and holy task! Take time each day for a few private moments with G-d. Ask that this new life be blessed with good health, a love of G-d and family, joy, inner peace, wisdom, compassion, courage, and the strength to endure life's challenges. Pray for insight and an understanding heart so that you may parent wisely. These are the precious gifts that no amount of money could ever buy. These are the precious blessings that we ask G-d to bequeath to us and our children.

Once we decide to bring G-d into our lives, it is with great ease that we are able to transmit this spiritual bond to our children. Children who observe parents committed to faith and spiritual pursuits become individuals who are familiar with G-d. They grow up with a profound awareness of the sanctity that lies within each and every one of us. They grow up with soul.

Children are like sponges. They absorb our every action, our every word. We are their greatest role models. A child who watches as his mother kindles her Sabbath lights knows that these flames will forever illuminate his path. A child who observes his father's dedication to mitzvahs, such as charity and Torah study, comprehends that there is more to life than mergers and acquisitions. (Mitzvahs are G-d's commandments given to us in the Torah. Many commandments involve kindness and doing good for others. Today, when one does a good deed, we call it "doing a mitzvah.")

Parents who teach their children to become cognizant of G-d convey a deeper meaning and purpose to their days. They live committed lives. Sadly, an entire generation is being raised devoid of any real spiritual presence. And even those who do grow up with knowledge and traditions are often left with their hearts wanting.

My brother still speaks about his memories as a young boy when he would spend the High Holidays with our grandparents. He would sit beside my grandfather on the bimah, the platform where the Torah's ark is kept. My grandfather would hold his prayer book in his hands, contemplating each word, while quietly sobbing. My brother would ask, "Zaydah, why are you crying?"

"Ah," my zaydah would sigh deeply. "I am remembering my zaydah. How he would cry for us as he prayed! Though he perished, I believe that it was his holy prayers that allowed us, his children, to survive that terrible darkness. Now it is my turn to pray for you." Zaydah's heartfelt prayers ignited a spark in my brother. As a young child, he watched his grandfather's faith come alive. Prayers didn't remain meaningless words, sitting lifeless on a page. Instead, they were a link to the past, a hope for the future. My brother was able to feel more easily connected to G-d. His observations created an indelible imprint on his soul.

Today, my brother leads our Hineni Rosh HaShannah and Yom Kippur services. His sons sit on the bimah beside him as their father once did. Now it is their turn to forge a spiritual bond as they observe their father immersed in sincere prayer. Zaydah's spark never died.

If we take our responsibility seriously, then our mikdash me'at begins to take form and flourish. Prayer, a love for traditions, and respect for G-d's creations allow children to realize a loftier purpose. Parents can create a vibrant spiritual identity as they form roots for the next generation to grasp on to.

More than twenty years ago, Mendy and I embarked on our own mission to create a mikdash me'at. The excitement we felt upon learning about our first pregnancy was unfathomable. I could barely contain my overflowing joy as I dialed my parents' home to share the exhilarating news with them. To celebrate the occasion, I asked my mother to accompany me to my first doctor visit.

We sat in the doctor's office, thrilled with our delicious secret. The checkup was perfect with just a few details to review. I was asked if I had any concerns.

"Well, as a matter of fact, I just have one small question," I replied. "There is this little bump on the side of my neck, it feels like a tiny pea. I thought I'd mention it, though I'm sure it's nothing."

The doctor rose from his chair and examined my neck. A deep frown formed on his forehead. I glanced at my mother worriedly.

"I don't know," he said slowly. "This really needs looking at. I'm going to send you over to Dr. ———. He's an oncologist and I want you to see him ASAP. In fact, I'll make one phone call and I want you over there right now."

I thought I'd collapse. The excitement, the joy of the day had just dissipated in an instant. I was left with deep dread. What now? My mother gathered me in her arms as if to shield me from the pain. Together we drove from the OB-GYN to the oncologist.

I was immediately brought into the examining room. The oncologistsurgeon entered, his white coat splattered with blood. My chest began to pound. Once again my neck was examined. Rather matter-of-factly, he told us that I would need immediate surgery. This was most probably a tumor that required removal at once.

"What about the baby?" I whispered.

"I didn't hear you, what did you say?" he responded.

My mouth was dry. I tried to get the words out but they felt like lead. "What about the baby?" I asked slowly. "This is my first baby. How can we do surgery?"

"Listen, there's nothing to talk about. You need surgery now. Schedule it immediately and then we'll see what to do."

I looked at my mother. Her beautiful eyes were filled with my pain. I knew she felt my anguish as only a mother could. We took care of the paperwork and scheduled the surgery for the day after next. There were blood tests to be done and Mendy had to .y in from an overseas business trip.

My mother took my hand as we walked to the car. "Shayfelah, everything is going to be all right. Don't worry. Let's go now to Mama and Zaydah. We're going to get their bracha, their blessing."

My zaydah and mama were always our source of comfort. They were our link back to a world that had been nearly extinguished. When you looked at my zaydah, you felt as if you were gazing at an angel. His face radiated holiness. The moment you met Zaydah you were taken with his sheer goodness. His saintly eyes, ever moist, reflected his pure soul. His .owing white beard felt soft to the touch. I never heard Zaydah raise his voice. All his words were said in the most tranquil of tones. After all the suffering he had witnessed, this was most remarkable.

Mama was a tiny woman, exploding with energy and wit to match. She had deep wrinkles that reflected her profound wisdom and life experience. Mama's sparkling eyes mirrored her enthusiasm for life.

You would enter Mama's remarkably small living room and find huge piles of clothing. People would drop off garbage bags filled with all types of garments that they didn't need anymore. Mama would patiently sift through the many pants, tops, dresses, and shoes.

She would make piles for needy families, knowing exactly which sizes they required. When they would arrive to pick up their bags, Mama and Zaydah would greet them as if they were long-lost family. No one would leave without a plate filled with Mama's delicious delicacies and Zaydah's kind words. Of course, Mama's sharp advice was given freely along with all the home-baked goodies. Mama and Zaydah's lives were imbued with compassion for others. A blessing from them was an extraordinary experience.

We walked into their tiny apartment burdened with the events of the day. I had always felt a special bond with my zaydah as I had been named for his mother, the Rebbetzin Slovah Channah. Whenever Zaydah would see me, his face would light up. He would lift his hands toward me and sing in Yiddish, "Slovah Channah, come here my sweet princess." I would run into his arms and feel at peace under his .owing beard. This time I didn't wait for Zaydah's greeting. As my mother told our story, I found myself sobbing on Zaydah's shoulders.

My grandfather slowly placed his hands on my head to bless me. His hot tears mingled with mine. Our pain was palpable. He cried aloud, "Yevarechecha Hashem veyashmerecha. . . . May G-d bless you and safeguard you, may G-d illuminate His countenance for you and be gracious to you. May the angels of mercy accompany you, my precious child."

I wanted to remain beneath my grandfather's shelter forever. Mama approached me and enveloped me in her warmth. She, too, placed her hands upon my head and gave me her blessing. "May G-d grant that you be like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah, may G-d bless you . . . and establish peace for you."

She whispered softly in my ear. "You will see, my child, you will have a most beautiful little one. I know it."

Her eyes filled as she gazed at me. I embraced the moment and felt renewed. Though the events of the day had been dizzying, hope was born within me. We spent the night at home, ensconced in prayer. Though I felt anxious and afraid, my grandparents' blessings definitely kept me going.

The next afternoon our phone rang. The oncologist asked to speak to me and my mother. He cleared his throat as I gripped the receiver.

"Well," he began, "You're not going to believe this. Your blood tests just came back from the lab. You don't have a tumor after all. You have mono. That lump in your neck is really a huge swollen gland."

I thought I was dreaming. The room began to spin around me. No tumor? No surgery? I looked at my mother and we both began to cry.

"There is one more thing," he added. "You must see a hematologist. This is the first trimester and you do have a virus."

I knew that our prayers of these past two days had just begun. All nine months of my pregnancy were filled with mixed emotions. The hematologist did not want to take any responsibility if I continued to carry the life within me. He warned us that he was removing himself from our case.

Mendy and I spent countless hours trying to calm each other's fears. Whenever I became overwhelmed I asked my parents for strength. Each morning began with a call to Zaydah, Mama, and my parents; I needed to hear their blessings.

"Please, G-d, please help my baby be healthy." I woke up with these words; I fell asleep with these words running through my mind. My thoughts were consumed with a deep desire for my baby's well-being.

King Solomon teaches us that a rope bound with three cords is much stronger than one bound with merely two. It is able to withstand intense blows. The three cords symbolize the union of both parents and G-d. I held on to that rope and braced myself with it throughout my entire pregnancy. The emotional turmoil of those months revealed a part of my inner self that I had, heretofore, never known. I had dug deep within the recesses of my soul.

One morning I was sitting on the couch in my parents' living room reflecting on the tumultuous events of the past few months. I thought about the awful fear that my parents and their families experienced as they had tried to survive the agony of war. They had overcome insurmountable obstacles with great courage and faith. How could I not do the same as I went through my own personal trial?

Of course there are no guarantees in life. I would not know if this baby would be born healthy until I held him in my arms. At the very least, I could confront this challenge strengthened through my deep belief in G-d. My parents had taught me that no prayer is ever lost. No plea to G-d is for naught. Perhaps we don't always understand G-d's answer. Maybe the response is not the one that we had hoped for. Nevertheless, our sages teach us that G-d listens to our every word, channeling our petitions as He sees .t. One thing was for sure; my child would come into this world soaring on the wings of countless heartfelt prayers. This thought brought me much comfort and solace. We would endure.

On a bright and sunny September morning our beloved baby arrived. I gingerly grasped his tiny fingers as they curled around mine. I traced his delicate features and stroked his soft black hair. Our hearts wanted to sing out loud, thanking G-d for this most precious miracle. He looked at me, his dark eyes slowly .uttering open. As I held him, I began to whisper to him his very first prayer here on earth. Modeh Ani is our initial prayer as we wake up in the morning, grateful for having been given the gift of life once again.

"Modeh ani," I hummed in his tiny ear. "Thank you G-d for giving us this life. Thank you for restoring my soul with compassion." Could I ever adequately say "thank you" for this little one?

This little soul was about to begin his spiritual journey in life. I was privileged to be a part of this magical moment. We named our son Moshe Nosson Aharon. Moshe Nosson was my father's brother; Nosson Aharon was my father-in-law's brother. Both men had been known as extremely righteous individuals. Both had been brutally murdered in the Holocaust simply because they were Jews.

This child would live, with G-d's help, for those who could not. We would begin the sojourn of tikkun olam, repairing the world, together. Light in a world of darkness, blessing in a universe permeated with pain; our mission had begun. We would try to bring healing into this wounded world of ours. We would live our days with this desire in mind.

As your child grows, so, too, do your hopes and fears. Despite all your greatest efforts to guide your child, you still need G-d's direction. How many times does a parent silently murmur, Please let him be healthy, please help her find good friends, please help him get rid of all the anger and find inner joy, please help him be safe . . . do we ever really have complete peace of mind?

Let us begin by opening our hearts and minds. Find time each day to pray. Prayer is our daily opportunity to converse with G-d. Realize, too, that perhaps you've been on this path of prayer without even knowing it. Each whispered plea that is emitted from your heart really is a silent prayer. Rediscover your roots. Children today have no sense of history. They grow up arrogant, believing that they "know it all and better" than their parents. It is only when children realize the greatness of previous generations that they acquire humility. When we know where we've come from we gain the insight to know where we're going.

Allow your child to observe your spiritual connection. Communicate your desire to live a life filled with meaning. You will find yourself transformed as you inspire your children. Perhaps the results will not always be immediately apparent. Realize, however, that just as soft droplets of rain nourish the earth you are constantly nurturing your child's soul. You are creating a magnificent mikdash me'at. The flame of genuine faith has been kindled. You are raising a spiritual child; a child who will be morally anchored. The legacy that you build is forever.

A child was once walking down the street. The Kotzker Rebbe, known for his sharp wit, passed by and motioned for him to stop

"Let me ask you a question, little boy," said the Kotzker Rebbe. "Where is G-d?" The youngster smiled. "Oh, that's easy," he replied. "G-d is everywhere." The Kotzker Rebbe looked at the boy for a moment. "No, my son," he answered gently. "G-d is only where you allow Him to enter."

If we allow G-d to enter our lives then we can establish our spiritual haven. Children who observe a life reflective of faith, flourish within the warmth and glow of a mikdash me'at. They will never have to travel through life feeling alone or abandoned.

Your legacy is a treasure not to be taken for granted. A commitment to a home established on a bedrock of faith allows you the infinite potential to transform a good family into a great one. The qualities of a great family are found within the parameters of your home. Constructing the foundation of our mikdash me'at is our next challenge.

Excerpted from RAISING A CHILD With SOUL With by Slovie Jungreis-Wolff

Copyright © 2008 by Slovie Jungreis-Wolff

Published in JANUARY 2009 by St. Martin's Press

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Introduction: Roots 1

1 Paising Spiritual Children 5

2 The Foundation: Gratitude 19

3 Happiness 39

4 Communication 64

5 Self-Esteem 111

6 Compassion 157

7 Discipline 184

8 Sibling Rivalry 228

9 Priorities 249

Epilogue 261

Meditations and Prayers 265

Acknowledgments 267

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews