“Teach them diligently…”

As a teacher who loves to teach, “diligently” doesn’t come to mind as the best word to describe how we should teach our children. Lovingly, gently, and passionately are all adverbs that to me describe good teaching. The English teacher that I loved taught me to enjoy reading by sharing aloud the words from the book, “Tuck Everlasting,” as if each word was precious. The Rabbi that taught me that Judaism could be spiritual shared his lessons with his eyes closed, savoring the sweetness and genius of our tradition.

But today, I am growing to understand more and more where diligence comes in. I spend a lot of time teaching the mechanics of Hebrew reading to students who would rather be anywhere than studying Hebrew. To me, Hebrew is a fun puzzle, letters that unlock the secrets of the ages. Letters that, even had they no meaning, would be kind of fun to decode. But, if you have been regularly struggling with these letters for three years and making little progress, for whatever reason, they certainly don’t seem fun. This is where diligence comes in. The diligent teacher or parent will get past that dislike with the student and… if enough time goes by, they might get lucky enough to share the love and passion that Torah can inspire.

Here’s hoping, anyway…

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