I am a mother/teacher/rabbi's wife. These are some of my adventures with kids!
Thursday, 9 August 2012
In parashat Eikev Moshe explains consequences to the Jewish people in a number of different ways. The land of Israel will flourish if the Jewish people are good. Our success in military conquests is reliant on our being good to Hashem. The second paragraph of Shema is in the sixth aliyah, a clear statement of our need to serve Hashem and the consequences. Be good = good out comes. And the converse.
Last Shabbat I brought up the topic of consequences during my children's program. It went something like this:
Me: "I want to talk about a big word you might not know: consequences."
Gabe (3 year old boy) : "Uh-oh!"
Louis (his 5 year old brother): "Consequences means you are in trouble"
Gabe: "Big trouble!"
Me: "Not necessarily. Whenever you do something, it causes something else. What it causes is called a 'consequence'."
Gabe: "Consequences means no DS."
I tried to explain other contexts but it all fell on deaf ears.
Me "Consequences can be good."
Louis "Nope. Rewards are good. Consequences are bad."
So maybe I need to rethink the connotation of consequences in the eyes of children. But a child's innocence in understanding reward and punishment is something we should try to emulate. Although we do not know why 'bad things' happen, they are an opportunity to take stock of our behaviour.
The beginning of the parasha includes the mitzvah to say birkat hamazon.
Therefore this week's parsha project is making birkonim (bentchers). This is another one I consider of great enough importance and relevance to make the classroom curriculum.
I modified the text of birkat hamazon, according to the abbreviated version we use in the classroom and added transliteration. I like this opportunity to make it exactly how we thank Hashem. My home version, for my daughters, will be very different reflecting the unique way we do birkat hamazon at home. My husband's minhag is to say ashkenazi birkat hamazon followed by Bendigamos. And then the songs we like. Ours is still a work in progress but my students should be taking theirs home for Shabbat.
I printed the template (I'll try to upload it tomorrow) and set the kids to paint with a diluted food coloring. When those were dry, the children decorated the open parts by pasting on shapes. At lunch I took photos of them eating their bread. Tomorrow they will be laminated.
Hopefully the consequence of this is children (and parents) taking more interest in birkat hamazon.
I distributed the birkonim to the students at the end of lunch on Friday. They were exuberant, singing louder than ever before. They enjoyed looking at the text (often upside-down) and exclaiming over letters they recognized.
Gabi joined my class for lunch, so here is her in action:
Cohava came home on Friday with the perfect project. She had made a birkon holder! The girls were very exciting about housing Gabi's project inside of Cohava's.