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Thoughts from Malkie Herson

Yom Kippur

Dear Parents:
This Sunday evening begins the holiday of Yom Kippur, one of the most well-known of Jewish holidays. We welcome this Holy Day with a prayer known as “Kol Nidrei” – a prayer which addresses vows and promises we may have taken over the course of the year.
Why dedicate this prime time of synagogue attendance to a prayer that
focuses on20the annulment of vows? On the face of it, its substance seems an odd choice for this uniquely contemplative time.
There are many beautiful explanations offered as to why this prayer was selected; I’d like to share a thought of mine. To me, the Kol Nidrei prayer is much larger than vows; it is an acknowledgement towards the overall power of speech. Speech, the bridge that connects people. And what a potent bridge it is. How we speak to each other has such influence on our relationships.
The following guide to promote effective communication with children is from Stanford University: 

  • Make yourself available for uninterrupted, one on one time with your children, sharing her interests and following her lead.
  • Get down to your child’s eye level. This is a great equalizer and makes conversation easier because it shows that you are interested.
  • Be aware of the tone of your voice. Comment on what you notice or observe in a voice that is calm, positive and genuine. 
  • Encourage your child to think and reflect by asking open-ended questions that elicit more than a yes or a no answer. “Why do you think that block keeps falling over?”
  • Give your child enough time to listen, think and respond.
  • Practice active listening: help clarify questions or comments by rephrasing what your child has said. “ So you think it’s falling over because we made it to tall”
  • Model the give-and-take conversations. Give your child many opportunities to practice listening as well as being heard.
With wishes for a happy new year, full of rich communication and relationships!
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