Monday, October 29, 2012

How To Teach Davening So Kids Will Daven

The following is a passage from the national bestseller How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk:

Most of the books on child-rearing tell us that one of our important goals as parents is to help our children separate from us, to help them become independent individuals who will one day be able to function on their own without us. We're urged not to think of our children as little carbon copies of us or extensions of ourselves, but as unique human beings with different temperaments, different tastes, different feelings, different desires, different dreams.   
Yet how are we to help them become separate, independent persons?  By allowing them to do things for themselves, by permitting them to wrestle with their own problems, by letting them learn from their own mistakes.   
Easier said than done.  (p.136)
Are you happy with how your students are davening on their own?  Have you observed them in shul on Shabbat or a holiday?  Perhaps the problem is that they have been encouraging them to daven politely in public and not necessarily prepared them for their separation from an adult led environment?

I know that teachers are not to blame for the lack of davening happening outside of school hours (parents do have a role - at my son's first grade siddur party at his religious school the head rabbi not so subtly encouraged even the parents to take more of an opportunity to use their siddurim as well), but I fear that one of the big problems of the prevalent tefilla pedagogy is that students are not being engaged to do so on their own terms and time. It is indeed easier said than done - but I think that the current model is doing just that - modeling behavior and norms and trying to create carbon copies.  Schools need to be laboratories for children to trained to tackle their present and future spiritual challenges, in their own unique way but within a broad and strong tradition and semi-public atmosphere.

No comments:

Post a Comment