Parent by Choice

However, here the conversation is different. Here we are discussing parenthood and its effects. And the definition of parenthood is the manner in which we are building (or destroying) our children's first-natures. How are we constructing their impressions of what is normal, their gut-responses, their way of looking at others, and their way of looking at the world?

Their first-nature is based on us.

This is one reason why the biblical verse says "be fruitful and multiply"—"be fruitful" means to have kids; "multiply" means that you are multiplying. By you having children, there are going to be more yous in the world—more people walking around with your values, your thoughts, your attitudes, your actions, and your reactions.

You are making carbon copies of yourself.

Therefore, being a parent isn't about acquiring a skill-set or a methodology nearly as much as it is about transforming yourself. In fact, I would go so far as to say that parenting is 90 percent self-transformation and 10 percent skill-sets and methodology.

For this reason, while many books devise strategies on communicating with your child in order to instill in them a healthy self-image, develop a positive outlook, and keep them motivated, if I were to write a book about parenting I would shift the center of attention from the child's eyes to the parent's persona; from what the child is seeing to what the parent is exuding. I would not spend much time on how your child is receiving the words you are projecting from your mouth, but the message you are conveying from deep within your heart.

The truth is that if a parent is talking a certain way as a methodology because he or she read somewhere that such an approach will "work" to get an obedient and desired result from a child, then it is external, shallow, and hollow. That is not education, it is manipulation. Instead of radiating refinement, such a parent is merely attempting to circumvent their flaws, and you can be sure that the child senses the difference between the two.

It is not about how to talk so that your kids will listen. It is about how to be so that your kids will aspire to be. It is about how to live so that your kids will be engrained in that kind of living.

As parents, if we want to be real, it's time we focused on the root of our children's behavior—us.

Author's Note: Rabbi Eli will be traveling across North America in February 2012 to present his empowering and impactful Kabbalah seminars on Spirituality, Relationships, and Self-Help. For a complete catalog or to book a life-altering event contact

12/1/2011 5:00:00 AM
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  • Eliyahu Yaakov
    About Eliyahu Yaakov
    Rabbi Eliyahu Yaakov is a sought after international speaker on Kabbalah, relationships, parenting, and life. His newly released book, Jewish By Choice: A Kabbalistic Take on Life & Judaism, recently hit #1 on Amazon's Best Seller list.
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