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Let's Surround our Children with Love and Nurture

Wednesday, 14 October, 2009 - 12:25 pm

Dear Parents,

Many of you asked for a copy of the video we showed at our Sukkot Supper last week. (CLICK HERE TO VIEW VIDEO) The message of that video (as gleaned from the message of the Sukkot story) is how important it is to surround our children in a nurturing atmosphere if we want to optimize their desire to learn and to grow. Why? What is the connection between the two?

Have you ever attempted a new project or experimented with a new experience that required you to leave your emotional safety zone? Was it easy?

Isn’t it easier to tackle these sorts of things when we know that our ‘support team’ (spouse, friend, parents, teacher, etc.) is behind us with unqualified love and acceptance, even if we were to fail?

If this is true for adults, how much more so for young children! At this stage of their development, children are learning a tremendous amount. They are learning how to be a friend. They are learning how to think creatively. They are learning how to take another into consideration. They are learning how to be communicative. (All this in addition to reading, writing, and arithmetic!)

For them to learn, they have to be willing to take risks, to tackle an endeavor that they may not succeed at first. But, to be willing to do that, the learner needs to know that s/he is accepted and loved no matter what.

Indeed, it is well documented that the emotional and cognitive support, love, and nurture that a child receives during their early years actually increases his/her capacity to learn and to develop mentally and physically.

It makes a lot of sense. A child who receives strong and consistent messages of “I love you; I believe in you; I am rooting for you; I will always be here for you,” will simply do better overall.

We see this same idea in the Sukkot story. The Sukkot story unfolds three thousand years ago. The Jewish people, a newly freed people, were traveling through the desert on their way to nationhood. These years are the parallel of early childhood. We had to grow and to develop into a viable nation. We had a lot to learn. And, we were doing this as we were traveling through a desert, which is quite a challenging experience. But through it all, G-d nurtured us and surrounded us with clouds of protection. It was upon this foundation of support that this new nation had the emotional availability to learn and to grow.

From that story, we learn the importance of providing a loving foundation of support for our children. Indeed, the stronger the message of support, the more likely it is that our children will be emotionally available to learn and to grow.



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