Friday, February 24, 2012

SHABBAT: At-risk youth and Shabbat dinner

"A core predictor of which families produce children who grow up to be described as "mentchen" (=decent and good) children is the amount and quality of time spent by parents with their children.

In a fascinating series of studies that have recently received media attention, researchers have found a direct correlation between the number of times a week parents eat dinner with their children and the risk of abusing drugs. Families that eat dinner together once a week have children with lower risk for drug-abuse than those that never do.

With each increasing night that parents and children eat together, drug abuse risk decreases to the point that there is virtually no risk for drug abuse in families in which parents and children dinner together every night.

The importance of eating dinner together is not the 'eating' or dinner; it's the uninterrupted, focused interaction that seems to bear such valuable fruit" 
(From the book 'Balanced Parenting' by R. and D. Pelcovitz).
Shabbat dinner--among other things--creates a sense of belonging and responsibility: a young adult who spends quality time with his family feels strongly part of the family and will think twice before doing a wrong thing. Because he realizes that whatever negative action he might do, it will bear unwanted consequences for all his beloved ones. On the contrary, when the bond between the young man or woman with her family is weak, when the parents are there just to criticize, warn and punish and there are no bond-building experiences, the young adult will think more about pleasing his friends than about respecting or not damaging his family. 
Shabbat dinner is a heaven-given gift to Am Israel, which not only enriches our souls but also strengthens our family.

Shabbat Shalom!  

Candle lighting in NYC: 5:22
Shabbat ends in NYC: 6:31