62 posts categorized "Children and education"

ADHD: The Natural Remedy

Do you have trouble focusing? Does your child?

Five years ago, I wrote an article Diet and Child Temperament on Breslev Israel that the right diet is oftentimes enough to solve the problem of ADHD. People don't realize that the same folks who tell you what's safe to eat and what's not - the ACSH (American Council on Science and Health) - are heavily funded by Monsanto, Pfizer, Merck, Coca Cola, Pepsi Coal and other white-collar corporate junkies who want to poison our children with empty carbs, sugars and GMO's, then label them ADHD and feed them Ritalin for the rest of their lives (please read "Shedding Light on Genetically Engineered Food" by Dr. Beth Harrison).

In addition to the problem of faulty nutrition, many so-called educational specialists misinterpret a child's inability to sit still for 8 hours as ADHD, when in actuality, the child is a kinesthetic learner. Kinesthetic learners need to move around and work manually with ideas. They touch things a lot. Smells and textures are important. They get bored just sitting still in class just listening. The more activity they experience while doing a skill, the better they learn it. I myself was a classical kinesthetic learner; I didn't swing from the rafters like hyperactive kids did, but I would daydream and doodle all day long, completely out of focus with what was going on in class. My best subjects were botany and biology, where there was much hands-on lab work. If your child is a Kinesthetic learner, do what King Solomon says - educate him according to his talents, aptitudes and particular style of learning ( see Proverbs 22:). Don't be trigger happy to shoot your child down with negative labels.

I'm happy to introduce you to a brother-in-arms, Dr. Josh Axe, MD, fitness expert and doctor of functional medicine. Doctor Josh himself was labeled as ADHD as a child - that didn't stop him from becoming one of the tops in his field. This vid is a must-see for parents, or for anyone who thinks he/she suffers from ADHD: Before you reach for the Ritalin, got the processed foods and the white sugar out of your child's diet - give him a teaspoon of fish oil or cod liver oil in the morning.

Now, let's listen to Dr. Josh's advice - it's spot on:

Sewing Up the Hole

Hole in the Sack
There was once a Ukranian peasant who worked all day long in the hot sun harvesting potatoes. At the end of the day, he looked inside his sack and lo and behold, there were only a dozen or so potatoes. Where'd they all go? He looked behind him and saw a trail of potatoes along the entire length of the field where he had been picking. What happened? There was a hole in the sack! Every time he put one potato in the sack, another potato fell out of the hole...

In recent years, I've sometimes felt like that peasant. We travel around the globe devoting our lives to bringing people closer to Hashem, yet loads of kids born into observant families are falling off the derech, the way of Torah Judaism.

In my humble opinion, the "off-the-derech" kids are the number-one problem that the Jewish People face today, not Iran or ISIS...

The kids themselves are not the problem. Having done extensive research into the subject and having spoken to hundreds of such young people, I've come to the conclusion that the problem is rooted in three main causes:

  1. The kids grow up in a home where the parents practice a stringent form of hellfire and brimstone Judaism, devoid of the joy that Judaism really offers.
  2. The kids grow up in a home where the parents honor material and/or secular values more than they honor Torah values.
  3. The kids never learn emuna, not from parents or teachers, so they have no motivation for Torah and mitzvoth, and no support system for life's challenges.

Fortunately, many of these young people are discovering emuna and the joy of their own personal relationship with Hashem by way of the teachings of Rabbi Shalom Arush shlit'a, which Hashem has given me the privilege of spreading in the English-speaking world. It's our goal to sew up the hole.

A Gift for the Rebbe

I have a custom that I received from an old tzaddik: he told me that when you take your 3-year old to cheder (Orthodox Jewish elementary school for boys) on the first day, give the cheder rebbe (boys' elementary school teacher) a monetary gift (like a $50 bill) and ask him to pay special attention to your son. The old tzaddik told me that the gift to the cheder rebbe invokes Divine assistance for your son's Torah learning and it makes the rebbe happy as well, for cheder rebbes never earn the money they really deserve. So, whenever I am honored with the mitzvah of being sandek at a brit, I take responsibility for the child's initial success in Torah and I give the father of the baby an envelope with money inside and tell him to pass it on to the child's rebbe when the child goes to cheder for the first time at age 3.

With the above in mind, several years ago, I had the privilege of being sandek at the brit of David Mark's son in Maale Chever south of Hevron. David wrote me this spine-chilling email earlier this month:Yaakov Litman hyd

...our son who you were sandek for, has grown up and is now in first grade.  It was his rebbe that was killed a few weeks ago along with his son.  It was hard for us as parents to go through that with him, but I saw that children really handle these things better than we do. His rebbe was an amazing person and it was to him in the beginning of the year that we gave the gift you had given us as his sandek that you told me to give to his future cheder rabbi.  Rav Yaakov Litman was a tremendous Tzaddik. I wrote a eulogy for him here.

Rabbi Yaakov Litman Hy"d (photo, above right), a beautiful human and a most wonderful cheder rebbe (elementary school teacher) was brutally murdered by Arab terrorists 6 weeks ago. 

Ending the Hostilities

No more fighting
When we're faced with a problem that looks unsolvable, we should learn how our forefathers handled similar situations. Here's something very recent with a happy ending:

Dec. 25, 2015

Shalom Rabbi Brody.

It's Mrs. F. from NYC  here. I have a question and any advice or guidance you can give me will be tremendously appreciated.

My oldest daughter Chavi is 7 years old (second grade). There is a girl in the class that she is constantly fighting with. They literally fight verbally and physically. This is going on for a few months already. The teachers tried implementing some positive reinforcements, but nothing helps. They are both tough kids and keep getting at each other's throats. Today the mother called me after school, and told me that my daughter shoved her daughter and made her fall down the steps (as a side note-my daughter came home crying that the other girl fought with her terribly today), and that something must be done; we must involve someone here. Now, it is true; my daughter - as precious and delicious as she is - is also a high-voltage child that could get aggressive when she plays or things don't go her way or highly anxious but only at home with her us and her brothers.

My question is as follows: aside from saying THANK YOU HASHEM FOR THIS WONDERFUL CHALLENGE, and  asking Hashem for guidance when I (try) to my daily hour of personal prayer, am I supposed to do any form of hishtadlus (effort - LB) here like calling a professional and or take my daughter to get evaluated and maybe get approved for some sort of therapy they will provide? (in general, she plays nicely with other children- I have never seen her acting aggressively with the neighbors and we have plenty of girls all around. somehow this girl brings out the worst in her).

How do I deal with this other mother? Do I let her involve whomever she chooses and follow a plan she will come up with?

Thank you for always being here for us. Your encouragement and guidance with Hashem's help is what keeps us going!!! Mrs. F

B"H, Dec. 25, 2015

Dear Mrs. F,

Have a three-pronged plan like our forefather Jacob did before his historic confrontation with Esau - doron, tefilla, milchoma - he prepared to appease Esau with a gift, he prayed, and he prepared himself for war. The girls have already been having the war, so now you should pray to Hashem for peace and teach your daughter to do so also. As far as the gift goes, I suggest that you buy a nice gift for the other little girl, and you and your daughter go visit the girl and her mother and give them the gift  - with Hashem's help, this will be a pleasant surprise for them that will surely make Shalom. My prayers for your success!

With blessings always, LB

Dec. 27, 2015

Rabbi Brody,  I have no words to express my gratitude to you - your words gave us such clarity and peace. We bought a nice book for the other girl, my daughter met her and gave it over (she also added an adorable written card on her own). That other girl literally lit up! Now, the girls are begging for time to play together. Things are looking up.  Thank you for your advice and for EVERYTHING! May Hashem bless you with good health and much nachas from your family until 120!! With much appreciation, Mrs. F

Unsupportive parents

Angry parents
Dear Rabbi,

My name is Sherrie. I live in California, and I became a baalas tshuva last summer, after attending a religious music festival (religious Jewish musicians are the greatest; I'm writing you because one of them told me that you rock!).

My parents are, in short, not particularly supportive of my decision. They think my keeping Shabbos is a waste of a day that could be spent on homework (I'm going into my junior year in high school, just turned seventeen), and that keeping kosher is a hindrance. Now, I have a lot of family issues - we don't have particularly great family dynamics in general. Anyway. So I wanted to ask your advice. Oh wait - I also go to public school and wear a kippah full-time. I got the impression from my musician friend - who's one of your fans - that you're not egalitarian, so I don't know if you like that, but it's what I've chosen to do. 

I've got to go. My mom is yelling at me. Thanks for listening!!


Dear Sherrie,

The way to get your folks on your side is to avoid any disrespect, and simply be a model daughter, just sweet, considerate, and loving; that'll be a showstopper! Disrespect to parents is worse than eating treif. Let them see how observant Judaism is simply making you a better person, but under no circumstances should you compromise on Shabbat, Kashrut, modesty, or what you know and believe is right (when in doubt, ask a rav that you trust). Be careful never to lose your temper, and even when your folks get all over your cage, simply grin and bear it - it'll cleanse your soul.

As for the egalitarian business, I'm not going to tell you what to do; if you're really searching for the truth, Hashem will help you get there. Most importantly, talk to Hashem for an hour a day in your own language. Make sure you read The Garden of Emuna too. Judaism without emuna is like a car without an engine - you won't get so far. May Hashem bless you always with all your heart's wishes for the very best, LB

Rapport is Everything

LB and Shlomi
Our children are good; they rarely do things deliberately to spite us.

People make a lot of demands from their children and then wonder why the kids don't do what they're told.

Then why don't they do what we tell them to?

Usually because we don't do what Hashem tells us to do.

But there's another big reason, that I learned from my beloved teacher Rav Shalom Arush: If you don't live it, you can't give it.

We can't expect our children to do anything that we don't do ourselves. In that respect, the best way to educate our children is to educate ourselves. If we want your children to enjoy being Jewish, then we must enjoy being Jewish. Genuine Judaism puts a smile on your face.

One more important point: the more a child enjoys being with a parent (or grandparent), the more he or she will be willing to learn from the parent (or grandparent); parental rapport is everything. Blessings for a wonderful Shabbat!

His name is Moishie, not Pigpen

Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me!

Whoever coined the above expression didn't understand much about the human soul.

PigpenLet's take "Pigpen" for example. Charles M. Schulz never gave the little guy - one of his most famous cartoon-character creations - a real name. Ever since he became one of the "Peanuts" regulars in 1954, this little fellow has only been known by the name of "Pigpen".

"Pigpen" rolls with the verbal-abuse punches his parents, siblings, and friends dish out to him, but inside, there's no doubt that he's bleeding - constantly. Some smile when they read a cartoon featuring Pigpen. Personally, I both wince and shed a tear.

Think about this for a moment: Can you expect a child whom the entire world addresses as "Pigpen" to be neat and clean? Can you expect him to bathe or to pick up after himself? Can you expect his briefcase, his notebooks, or his desk to be orderly? Never in a million years!

Suppose we were to discover that this little boy's mother and father coined the horrendous nickname of Pigpen. We'd be furious and indignant, wouldn't we? We'd ask ourselves how can people be so cruel as to bury their child alive in a coffin of a negative self image, driven into him from an early age, that he's a filthy, messy, slob and a social misfit. What can possibly be expected of such a child?

Where do parents get the license to murder their kids with verbal abuse? Where do they get the right to call their children "lazy", "stupid", "fat", or "coward"? Insulting a child is every bit as cruel as beating him with a stick or stone; in many respects, the human soul is far more fragile than a human bone. Broken bones heal faster than broken souls...