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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 30, 2005 / 19 Adar II, 5765

Assessing our most precious possessions

By Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg


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A seasoned educator gives guidance on how to maximize our children's ‘human portfolio’


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | More than forty years ago, a father sent his young son to a distant city to study.


It was a time before inexpensive flights and frequent flier miles but the father, wanting to check up on his son's progress, made the long, tiring journey.


When he arrived at the seminary, the father was asked why he didn't simply call.


"Let me explain," the father replied. "If I owned a factory in this city, distance or not, would I not personally come and check up on the progress of the business? Do you think I would just accept a phone report of my profits and losses? Would it be enough for me to review quarterly financial reports? No, I would be here."


Anyone who is responsible with an investment portfolio will occasionally have a professional review it. If a stock suddenly shows a significant decrease in value, we would run to the investment advisor with great urgency. Reviewing assets and materialistic belongings is very common and we consider ourselves irresponsible if we don't have a plan for review. In fact, you probably receive regular update forms from your insurance company, asking you for details to evaluate the amount of coverage you have.


We all know that being underinsured can be problematic. This article will address the need for reviewing the portfolio of a different kind — of our most precious possession — our children.


We must identify who would be best to approach for some assistance in developing the "human portfolio". A child's teacher, principal, congregational leader, a family friend or relative are certainly good choices. Unfortunately, the professional "Offspring Counselor" doesn't exist.


It may be easy to review some investment numbers and suggest one investment over another. But really getting to know the characteristics and inner workings of a person requires great insight and wisdom. Parents are often too close to the situation to have a healthy, objective view of the strengths and weaknesses of their own child. One may be able to have all that it takes to assist your friend in reviewing his child, but it is difficult to see your own child objectively.


Whether or not you have someone to go to for assistance, I suggest that the first step is to create an inventory of your child's strengths and weaknesses. Any format is acceptable as long as it details those areas with specific examples. You may want to begin by creating three lists — one of the child's greatest attributes, one of the child's greatest challenges and one of the areas that the child shows average results. The list will look very different, when completed at different ages during the child's development.


Below is what the list may look like for a nine-year old:

STRENGTHS

  • My child shows great sensitivity to the pain of others. I know that because I see how he's overcome with emotion when he hears sad news.

  • My child has a powerful memory. I know that because he can always remember phone numbers and addresses.

  • My child shows much respect to his teachers and authority figures. I know that because they tell me the specific examples of his behavior and he always shows good marks on the behavior areas of the report card.

WEAKNESSES

  • My child is highly unorganized. I know this because he usually forgets to bring home the work he needs at home from school.

  • My child is very stingy. I know this because he never spends any part of his weekly allowance.

  • My child has a bad temper. I know this because of the way he slams the door shut when he gets into a fight with his brother.

AVERAGE

  • My child does acceptable work in school work. I know this because his grades are usually within the 80- 90 range.

  • My child is friendly enough. I know this because at times he likes to have friends over, at times he goes to others and at times he likes to stay alone.

  • My child understands physical hygiene within an acceptable range. I know this because he usually brushes his teeth.


Creating this list is no simple task the first time you do it. Once it is done, reviewing, grading and updating it is easy. It is best when this list is created by at least three people — the mother, the father and the child.


The child must be assisted with the completion of this form and must be assured that this will remain private among the three of you. You will be amazed at the level of honesty your child will exhibit when creating such a list. To make it easy and understandable, we will call this list "the inventory".


For some people, writing this inventory will come easier than for others. For some it may be painful to face a serious analysis on paper of how one is faring and then have to confront a failure. As difficult as it may be, it becomes easier when we realize that with honest examination at an early stage in a person's development we can avoid much greater problems later on, when the failures and weaknesses are ingrained and become much more difficult to change.


I have had situations when parents didn't know how to begin this process. Their paper remained blank. I told them not to worry. It doesn't mean that they don't know their child. This process requires some skill and objectivity. You may also be confused with some areas that show conflicted symptoms.


An example would be in determining if your child is stingy or a spendthrift. What do you write when you notice that your child will never spend money on others and spend lots of money on himself or the reverse?


What you will probably experience is that once you start working on this list, many doors will open for you. A greater understanding of your child will emerge. If you are brave enough, you may want to test the creation of such a list by writing an inventory on yourself — your own strength, weaknesses and average areas.


How often this list is created is the next issue to be resolved. For this question there is no uniform response. Much depends on the child, his/her age and other variables. The steps that you take as a result of reviewing the inventory may call for more frequent updates.


That brings us to the question, now what? If you completed the inventory, the hardest part is now behind you. In a future column we will discuss how to use the completed inventory for growth and steady advantage.


I encourage you to use this exercise as a learning experience, conducted in a positive and non-confrontational manner. Serious self-examination can be stressful. Don't add to it by admonishing your child along the way and berating him/her for not doing better. Stay focused on the positive results of growth that will emerge from the process.


To be continued

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg is dean of Torah Academy in Minneapolis, MN. and a columnist for Yated Ne'eman. Let him know what you think by clicking here.



© 2005, Yated Ne'eman