Keep It Simple (Va’etchanan)

In this week’s portion Moshe reviews the experience of receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai. Often translated as the “10 commandments” the aseret hadibrot, given then, are more accurately translated as the “10 Principles”. In fact, there are a total of 613 commandments that we are potentially bound to by the Torah. Yet, G-d chose 10 principles to focus on at the moment of revelation. In fact, the later prophets and sages pared the guiding principles down further to 3 and even 1!

When educating our children as to what constitutes our family values,  we should keep it simple. We should not need to make up a rule for every situation that arises. Rather, the values and principles that govern all members of the family should be absolutely, glaringly clear so that the child can then learn to apply these principles to the small everyday decisions that he makes. This gives him the ability to eventually integrate and incorporate the family value structure on his own, even when you are not around to guide him.

3 Steps to do this:

  1. Clearly articulate your core family values (try and keep it to 3).
  2. Communicate them and use opportunities to illustrate them whenever possible.
  3. Hold everyone (including yourself) responsible to them equally and consistently.