Have Faith in Your Children and You Will Give Them Faith in Themselves

Principle 11 for Being an Inspiring Parent

The eleventh video talks about always being there for your child, believing the very best of them no matter what.

How to be an inspiring parent, rule 11. Rule 11 begins with a remarkable Gemara in Sanhedrin about the phrase, na'aseh adam b'tzalmaynu kidmutaynu, "Let us make man in our image according to our likeness." Who, ask the Rabbis, was God speaking to? And this is what they said:

God created a group of angels to consult with them. And He said, "Do you think it's a good idea to create human beings?" The angels said to God, "Well, let's have a glimpse of what they're going to be like." So God gave them a trial run, a preview of human history. They said, "God, You want our opinion? Forget the whole thing." God then ignored the group of angels and created a second group of angels. Asked them the same questions. They gave Him the same answer: God, forget it, ma enosh ki tizkerainu? "What is man that You are mindful of him?" And God ignored their advice too.

He then created a third group of angels and asked them the same question. And they said, "God, You've asked two groups of angels before, and they've given You their candid opinion: Forget the whole thing. So what are we going to add? And what we say to You is: God, the Universe is Yours. Do whatever You like." And that is when God created man.

In other words what Gemara is telling us is that the biggest challenge of faith is not our faith in God, it's God's faith in us. God had the faith to create us despite the fact that He knew we would disobey Him and disappoint Him and very often be a great disappointment to the entire human race. Nonetheless, God says, ve'ad ziknah ani hu ve'ad shayvah ani esbol. Until old age, I will still be patient and put up with everything.

God's faith in us is totally unshakeable. And that, for me, is the mystery of faith. Not why we should have faith in God, but why God should have faith in us. And that, however, is what we mean when we say of God, Avinu Malkeinu, You are our Parent as well as our King. And that is what God says through Moses to Pharaoh, Beni bechori Yisrael, "These are My children. My children."

To be a parent, rule 11, means you have to have faith in your children. Even if they behave in a way that may disappoint you, never lose faith in them. If they fail, forgive them. If they fall, lift them. If they don't do as well as you wanted them to, encourage them, and they'll do better tomorrow. Have faith in your children, rule 11, and you will give them the faith in themselves that will carry them through life, walking tall and doing good.

This video series, Inspired Parenting, consists of thirteen short videos of Rabbi Sacks discussing some of the ways we can be inspiring parents and really kindle the flame of Torah in our children.

We hope you will learn, as Rabbi Sacks did, from exploring these ideas.