Dear Readers,

It’s not often that our children love their school. Even rarer is when our children eagerly embrace the growth that their school teaches.

Impressed with the enthusiasm that my daughter shows toward her school, and seeing how her eyes sparkle when she talks about what she learns, I was looking forward to attend the school’s parent evening. The principal would be addressing us and explaining how she infuses our daughters with a tangible love of G‑d and a true joy in fulfilling His mitzvahs.

“How we nurture,” the principal passionately explained, “becomes our children’s nature.” The words that constantly escape our lips, the attitudes we promote, the songs we hum as we do our chores, our actions and reactions forge our little people into who they become.

This Thursday we celebrate Tu B’Shevat, the beginning of the new year for trees.

The Torah compares man “to a tree of the field.” Just as we cultivate a tree, we provide our children with their nurturance in order to coax out their potential.

But it only works if we are mindful in how we educate—if we take the time to think about what truly matters, and make sure our actions follow through.

This week, Elana Mizrachi asks, “Is it worth it?” Do we consider which of our children’s behaviors are really worth a reaction? Which conduct do we need to stop before it takes root, and which seeds do we want to plant in our children?

This week, too, Yvette Miller rethinks bar and bat mitzvah. She pointedly asks what messages are we giving to our children in how we celebrate these milestones, and provides practical suggestions for meaningful things that we can do.

To cultivate a strong and beautiful tree, it takes energy. It also takes a clear vision and daily “watering sessions” to nurture our goals.

Wishing us all clarity in how we parent our children—as well as how we parent ourselves—so that our daily actions conform to our lofty ideals.

Happy humming.

Chana Weisberg,
Editor, TJW

P.S. For an amazingly fun and educational activity to do with your children, students or friends, check out Chana Scop’s Tu B’Shevat craft idea.