Thursday, July 10, 2014

You've Got Too Be Carefully Taught

Q: You were on the Mets when they were known for having a hard-drinking clique of players called the Scum Bunch. You’re a very religious man. Did that keep you out of trouble? 

MW: No question about it. When you’re younger and you get a little freedom, you always want to test the water. But there’s something in the back of your mind that corrals you, and that could be nothing but your faith and what God has instilled in you. It starts with your parents — your parents can only teach you. They can’t force you to learn it.

The above is from an interview with Mookie Wilson, a former Mets outfielder (fear not, my brothers raised me right; I am a Yankees fan). Mr. Wilson is currently training to be a minister. 

The Sh'ma states: "And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up." 

Hashem knows our limitations as parents. We cannot force our children to follow in His ways, in our own ways. We can only do as much as we can, which is to tell them, to teach them, to talk about our beliefs casually and constantly.
Like Mr. Wilson says, "Your parents can only teach you. They can't force you to learn it."

When I'm babysitting, I usually get roped into reading a few too many Berenstain Bears books, so by the time I finally execute the final tuck-in I'm ready to make a run for it. 

"We have to say Sh'ma," the little one insists. 

I figure the main phrase is sufficient, but the 4-year-old informs me, "We also say 'V'ahavta.'" 

They don't know yet what they are diligently saying. But they were taught, and they learned, and in time, they will learn more, please God.

As Frederick Douglass said, "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."   

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