Most people are unaware of the fact that the Bible is full of ideas about making us great parents. Abraham and Sarah were very keen in doing good and helping to make their community and the world a better place. I have selected five choice lessons that Abraham and Sarah taught us about improving our parenting skills.
Lesson 1: Talk Little – Do Lots
When travelers passed the tent of Abraham and Sarah in the desert in Israel, they felt the need to help them by offering food, drink and lodging. What is interesting is the difference between what they offered and what they actually delivered. Abraham invites them into his and Sarah’s home with the words “Let some water be brought and wash your feet recline beneath the tree. I will fetch a morsel of bread that you may sustain yourself, then go on”. When the meal is served a little later the guests are offered a veritable banquet, with fine breads, milk and cheeses followed by meats which are described as “tender and good”.
Lesson: We promise our kids many things and lift their expectations without fulfilling half of what we promised them. Try to not over promise what you are offering them and be judicious with the word “promise” unless you know with absolute certainty you will deliver.
Lesson 2: Be Passionate
A common theme is repeated in the same narrative. When Abraham sees the guests he “ran towards them from the entrance to the tent”. He then “hastened to the tent to Sarah”, and announces “Hurry! Take fine flour and knead and make cakes”. Abraham doesn’t slow down then either, he “ran to the cattle” to prepare it. Why are Abraham and Sarah in such a rush? These travelers weren’t going anywhere else. Abraham and Sarah had the only open tent in town. The fact that he had to beg them to grace his home means they weren’t dying of thirst or hunger either. What they were doing is acting with passion. When you love doing something, especially when those actions are good actions that help others, act with passion and alacrity.
Lesson: Your kids have to know that you are passionate about doing good. If you do acts of kindness with a “kvetch” (a Yiddish word meaning irritation and annoyance) then your kids will do all their chores the same way, without enthusiasm and with reluctance. Instead, try to do the act with a smile and show them you are satisfied with the results, even if they didn’t turn out the way you hoped or expected.