5 Lessons Abraham and Sarah Taught Us About Being Great Parents

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Lesson 3: Include Your Kids in Acts of Kindness for Others

When Abraham is preparing the lavish feast for his guests, he includes someone referred to as “the youth” who is tasked with preparing the meal. Who is this mystery character who is left unnamed in the narrative? The commentators inform us that this “youth” is actually Abraham’s son from his wife Hagar. At this point in their lives, Abraham and Sarah had become very wealthy and were surrounded by servants who were available to do their bidding. When it came to doing good deeds however they were careful to make sure that they were personally involved in the action and more importantly involved their kids too.

Lesson: Kids need to sometimes “get their hands dirty” when it comes to helping others. Giving charity is a good thing, but involving kids is even better, even if that means your child puts the coin in the charity box, or hands the quarter to the beggar themselves.

Lesson 4: Fight For Others – Not Just Yourself

Abraham and Sarah adopted Abraham’s nephew whose name was Lot, after Lot had lost his father. They felt the responsibility and the calling to bring up this young man in their own home. A war broke out near where Abraham and his family were residing which ended up with Lot and his possessions being kidnapped and stolen. Abraham leaps into action and deployed 318 troops to bring back Lot his nephew and restore his wealth. Abraham took on this risky mission in order to restore justice to his area and he personally did not benefit in any way from this war or the bounty that came with the enemies defeat.

Lesson: Sometimes those in your home or your community need help, even though they are not immediate family. Maybe there’s a problem with the school, or a lack of street signs, or a new neighbor is moving in. Children need to know that you don’t just care about them, but you also are concerned about those people who are not in your home or living under you roof.

Lesson 5: Laugh – About the Right Things

When Sarah was informed that in her old age she was about to become a mother for the first time, she laughed. However when God hears her laugh, he is disappointed in her for laughing, “Why is it that Sarah laughed…is their anything beyond God?” Later on after the birth of her son Isaac, Sarah laughs again this time saying “God has made laughter for me; whoever hears will make laughter for me”. What’s the difference between these two laughters? Why is Sarah reprimanded the first time she laughs, yet the second time she laughs is a cause of celebration? Laughter comes in two forms, cynical laughter and laughter of joy. When Sarah first heard the news of her pregnancy, and element of disbelief and cynicism entered her. Such laughter is destructive and doesn’t bring unity, but divisiveness. The other type of laughter is one of true joy and gratitude which can bring people together and create laughter for others too.

Lesson: Having an attitude when dealing with your kids of cynicism, eventually effects them to be cynical about life too. You can be disagree with others, and skeptical of people, without being cynical. But to “laugh” everything off as “impossible” “stupid” and “wrong” raises children with the same qualities or cynicism and disbelief in what they can achieve.

 

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Originally from London, England, Rabbi Lawrence Hajioff graduated with honors in political science from Manchester University. After working for MTV in news production, and winning the national competition ‘Jewish Stand-Up Comedian’ of the Year, Rabbi Hajioff traveled to study in Israel and then Monsey to receive his rabbinical ordination.

Rabbi Hajioff is the educational director of Birthright Israel Alumni in Manhattan, New York. He is on the full time faculty of Stern College for Women at Yeshiva University.

Rabbi Hajioff lives in Wesley Hills with his wife Anita and their five children.

His new book “Jew Got Questions?” is available here www.amazon.com/author/rabbilawrence

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