Why Kenyan parents should read ‘The Jewish Phenomenon’

The Jewish Phenomenon.

The cover of  Steven Silbiger's book The Jewish Phenomenon.

Photo credit: Pool

Schools have closed for December holiday. Now, parents have ample time to bond better with their children. Somewhat, having quality time with them is an effective way to show love cited in the 5 Love Languages by Garry Chapman. Again, a heroic book titled The Jewish Phenomenon by Steven Silbiger presents precious points, on parenting with purpose.

Foremost, during the holiday, parents should have candid conversations with children. They should swing into action and play their part. Being keen about the well-being of children is what as a scribe I would describe as proper parenting.

Aptly put, parents should cherish, counsel, compel and chide children. Again, parents should not throw caution to the winds by contracting a deadly disease called TB — Too Busy. Remote parenting is not the way to go. Parents who want to win the war should be intentional in nature.

Children do not grow up like trees. Instead, it is prudent to bring them up through strict training and tutelage. For the sage says in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Ipso facto, parents should pick the ball from where teachers have dropped it. For philosopher Seneca put it aptly, "A teacher is a second parent, and a parent is a second teacher." Parents should not abdicate their royal roles. It takes God, parents and teachers to raise children who are morally upright. The joint effort is perfectly brought out in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, where Apostle Paul of Tarsus pens, "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters are anything, but only God, who makes things grow."

Furthermore, parents should prioritise their children, provide for their children, protect their children and pray for their children. Largely, parents should track academic performance of their children. They should also be concerned about talents, gifts and skills. Parents should introduce children to God, the way Lois (grizzled granny) and Eunice (mother) did to Timothy — the protégé of Apostle Paul of Tarsus (2 Timothy 1:5).

Again, parents should check forms of entertainment children desire. They should encourage them to have a predilection for edutainment — educative entertainment. Movies and music must be didactic. Parents should help their progenies to understand that minds obey GIGO Principle — Garbage In, Garbage Out. Input equals output. Children should not spend a lot a lot of time on entertainment, and forget about books. Wise parents should sit down with children, and carefully-craft daily timetables that focuses on study time, home chores and leisure. As Sonya Carson did to her son Ben Carson, parents should encourage children to brood on good books.

Just to augment my argument, there is a great text titled the Jewish Phenomenon by Steven Silbiger. It presents the 7 Keys to Enduring Wealth of Jews. This heroic book teaches why Jews in America are wise and wealthy. The putative author postulates that Jews understand that real wealth is portable: It is knowledge. Therefore, at a fledgling age, Jewish parents train their children to appreciate the wonder of the written word. Jews make up only 2 per cent of the total population of the United States. Yet, 45 per cent of the top 40 of Forbes 400 richest Americans are Jews. 20 per cent of professors in the Ivy League universities are Jews. 40 per cent of partners in the leading New York and Washington D.C. law firms are Jews. 25 per cent of all American Nobel Prize winners are Jews. One-third of the American multi-millionaires are Jews. The percentage of the Jewish household with some handsome income greater than $50,000 is double that of non-Jews.

Consequently, right from the onset, Jews become sedulous in studying Talmud and Torah and Mishna. Talmud collates books of detailed rabbinical commentary on the Bible. Tora is the collection of the first five books of the Old Testament. The Mishna houses books codifying Jewish laws for religious observance such as orison. In the Jewish religion, parents recognise their children in the synagogue as adults at the age of 15. Jewish parents encourage their children to value literate habits, hobbies, rituals and routines. Children watch news and read newspapers with real zeal and zest. No wonder, they stand out of the crowd, walking heads held high. Parents instruct children never to live under the shadow of other mere mortals. A classic case is Albert Einstein — a top-flight physicist, who at age 26, became the creator of the Law of Relativity that ushered in the Atomic Age, because he read popular science books during childhood.

The writer is an orator, editor and author. [email protected]


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