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How can I get my child to want to wear his Tzitzit and Kipah?

  

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Sally: My 9 year old son won't wear his Tzitzit, and often argues over wearing his Kipah. He admits that people who don't know what they are ask him and it makes him feel uncomfortable, and that he doesn't look like the friends he has who don't wear them, and that bothers him as well. We want him to wear both, and yet he is a child with very low self esteem. We don't want him to not wear them, yet we also don't want to make him identify them with hatred because he feels forced to feel different. We don't want him to grow up resenting his Judaism, but we do want him to be raised as an observant Jewish boy. How do you think we should handle this?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: 1) Every child is different, and all parents have different parenting methods that work best for them and their children. As such it would be inappropriate for me to give you concrete practical advice for this situation. You want to discuss this with your local Chabad Rabbi, his wife, and/or an expert in teh area of child development.

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: 2) Having said that, the underlying message that must come accross to the child is that he FORTUNATE to be Jewish. A child is not a philosopher and doesn't understand theology. A child must receive that message in child terminology...

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: A Jewish child in a non-Jewsih environment will often experience the negative aspects of being different... "you can't have this, it is not kohser; you can't go there, it is not Jewish; not today, it is Shabbat..." etc.

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: What we must infuse in our children is the positive side of being different

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: Today I get a cup of grape juice, because it is Shabbat

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: I am going to get a new suit, becuase it is a Jewish Holiday

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: I am getting eight gifts, one for each night of Chanukah

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: I have a pen pal half way across the world - he speaks spanish, i speak english, but we both wear a Kipah and Tzitzit to school etc

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: styles always change - but i look at old pictures and i can see my grandpa also wearing a kipah

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: etc etc

Sally: Do you think surrounding him with other children who also wear them and are observant would help him? Right now we live amongst all non Jews and we are thinking of moving to an observant community.

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: absolutely!!!

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: again, absolutley!

Sally: thank you for your time.

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: Children learn by example (adults also do, but especialy children) - as i said before, they are not philosophers, they learn from very tangible and real things

Sally: okay, thank you.

Sally: Our Rabbi and friend, is a Chabad Rabbi, and I will meet with him about this. Thank you for your time.

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: all the best

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Mitzvot » Education
Torah » Education
Daily Life » Clothing » Tallit and Tzitzit
Daily Life » Clothing » Kippah

Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Chabad
Chabad, an acronym for Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding, is the name of a Chassidic Group founded in the 1770s. Two of the most fundamental teachings of Chabad are the intellectual pursuit of understanding the divine and the willingness to help every Jew who has a spiritual or material need.
Chanukah
An eight day mid-winter holiday marking: 1) The miraculous defeat of the mighty Syrian-Greek armies by the undermanned Maccabis in the year 140 BCE. 2) Upon their victory, the oil in the Menorah, sufficient fuel for one night only, burned for eight days and nights.
Tzitzit
Literally: the fringes which are attached to four cornered garments, as Biblically mandated. Normally this word refers to a t-shirt sized four cornered garment which contains such fringes, and is usually worn beneath the shirt.
Kipah
(pl. Kipot). The head-covering worn by Jewish males. Serves as a constant reminder of the existence of a Higher Being.