It is understood that every profession in the world requires a specific amount of training; if you happen to send your child for Occupational Therapy, you would obviously assume that the therapist had undergone several courses over the years in order to be fully qualified.  Undoubtedly, if you required brain surgery you would hope that the so-called brain surgeon had spent much time acquiring all the necessary skills to perform the task at hand.

In fact, the more significant the outcome, the more study must be invested.  Therefore, it is astonishing to note that parenting – which contributes so significantly to the end product of a child, a Neshama, appears to have no formal training!

It is incumbent upon us to acquire knowledge for this lofty profession, whether directly attending a parenting course, obtaining audio or reading material, or consulting with somebody in the field.  We cannot raise our children without pondering, planning and evaluating.

Having said that, a person could attend every parenting class under the sun, devour every available book and CD, as well as frequently ask questions regarding their family, and yet they could miss the whole point.  Some would call it missing the forest for the trees; if trees are the various parenting aids, then the forest is none other than tefillah.  We can be “book smart” in parenting but what about that leather-bound book at the end of the shelf? 

Let us consider the following question: Why did our grandmothers never attend a parenting course?  The answer is that our grandmothers knew how to daven.  It is all very well to have methodologies for the various stages and phases of childrearing, but first and foremost, we have to ask, we have to pray.  To pray for a successful outcome, whether from a siddur or from our hearts.  Yes, one needs some practical tips when toilet training a child but the first port of call should be “HaShem, let the toilet training be successful” or “HaShem, please help me to take Shimmy to the next stage”.

While of great importance, all the advice and techniques available only count for a fraction of the end result.  One of the main factors of a child’s hatzlacha is davening to HaShem for this assistance.  When we focus more on our siddur before taking action we relinquish control and acknowledge that in reality the answer is primarily in HaShem’s Hands.





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