How can I impress upon my children the seriousness of the Three Weeks? I have four wonderful children ranging in age from 9 to 16, and the Three Weeks and Nine Days are a huge annoyance to them. For example, they listen to all this a cappella singing, which in my opinion is real music. When I stop them, they get upset at me. How can I help them understand how serious these days really are?
A. Wow. I must admit that this question is unique. You are worried that your children are not taking the Three Weeks seriously enough. In many families, the extent that kids relate to the Three Weeks is getting a haircut immediately before they start.
There are a few points I would like to make.
1. They are children. In a perfect world, children might be focused on the Three Weeks. Unfortunately, Mashiach is not here yet, so it’s not a perfect world. Therefore, kids are more likely to be worried about their phone’s battery level and the score of their favorite team.
2. I’m pretty sure that many adults are not on the level you’re aiming for.
3. Regarding the a cappella music, you would need to ask your rav. Better yet, let your kids ask the rav. This way, you don’t need to be the bad guy if the rav says no, and you can also teach your kids the importance of communicating with their rav.
4. The best way to teach your children about the Three Weeks is to lead by example. You might want to bring up a new halachah every day about lashon ha’ra, or maybe just spend a few minutes discussing the importance of bein adam l’chaveiro. Additionally, there are several good books available that are a great way to introduce or remind our children about the beauty of the Beis HaMikdash and the tragic Churban that took place. With young children, it might be meaningful to read a relevant children’s book each night at bedtime.
5. Most importantly, I would like to reiterate one of my favorite thoughts regarding parenting. Choose your battles. I know you feel that this is important (and it truly is), but it’s not worth a battle.
In the z’chus of your wonderful parenting, may we be zocheh to experience the coming of Mashiach!
Rabbi Yitzie Ross is a well-known rebbe and parenting adviser. To sign up for the weekly e‑mails and read the comments, visit YidParenting.com.