by Rav Simcha Klein
Children who observe their parent’s emunah in action will absorb and internalize that emunah by osmosis. The following1 are methods and opportunities for parents to allow their children to witness their emunah b’lev, thereby transmitting their personal conviction and passion about Hashem.
1. It is self understood that the suggestions contained herein will only be effective if the parents themselves truly believe in what they are saying and doing. In the event that the parent’s conversations on this topic are insincere, it is wiser for them not to discuss Emunah at all, since hallow words on such an important topic can be more damaging to the children’s long term Emunah then refraining from discussing it at all.
2. This can be far more effective then overtly telling it to them.
3. Parents that have experienced incidents themselves of hashgacha pratis should make a point of sharing them with their children.
4. Using hashgacha pratis as a way of sowing the seeds of emunah in the hearts and minds of children was highly recommend by the Chazon Ish Z”L (Maaseh Ish).
5. If it is not possible to recite all the berachos in that manner, one should at least try to do so with one or two berachos per day.
6. When children see this conduct they will inevitably start pondering “who is my parent talking to”, and that will cause them to internalize that Hashem is a reality and a Being one can openly address. This dynamic was strongly advocated by Rav Volbe Z”L (Zireya U’Binyan BaChinuch p. 37).
7. This method is mentioned by Rav Akiva Aiger (Al Hatorah, Veschanan, on the pasuk Vahavta).
8. Parents should train their children to associate all goodness with Hashem. Besides concretizing the existence of Hashem in their eyes, it will also reinforce their perception of Hashem as a rachum v’chanun who is always concerned for their wellbeing. (I have personally heard Rav Shmuel Berenbaum Z”L lament the fact that so many people today don’t truly perceive Hashem as an Av HaRachamon).
9. Habituating children not to take for granted any aspect of healthy living is a strong investment in their future sense of contentment and happiness.
10. As it says .(תהילים קכא,ד) הִנֵּה לֹא יָנוּם וְלֹא יִישָׁן שׁוֹמֵר יִשְׂרָאֵל –
11. See Berachos (5a). This was also recommended by the Chazon Ish Z”L (Maaseh Ish vol.6 p.96).
12. The medium of storytelling is an extremely powerful tool to reach our children’s hearts and souls.
13. For example Chana and her seven sons. See an amazing version of the story in Medrash Rabbah (Eicha 1:50).
14. Advice of Rav Avigdor Miller Z”L. Experience has shown that reciting this as a nightly ritual can have a powerful effect on a child.