One of our favorite alonim, called Mibereshit, comes in a gan or an elementary school edition. The gan version has a regular feature about a boy named Efi and his family. Efi has lots of problems but his wise parents help him resolve them through a discussion about the weekly Torah portion.
Last week Efi went to the dentist with his mother. Usually they enjoy looking at store windows, but Efi got upset when his mother told him an elaborate toy he coveted (pictured) was very expensive. She suggested he wait until Passover to request it as an afikoman present. Efi wasn’t satisfied, so they sat on a bench to think of a solution. (We are almost always rushed on our way to appointments, but Efi’s parents always have time and patience to explain things to him.) Efi tells his mother, “In gan we learned how Jacob worked for seven years to “earn” Rachel from her father.” His mother remembers. “I am ready to work for my toy!” Efi will straighten out the bathroom, clear the lunch dishes from the table, and help his mother fold the laundry without her needing to remind him. “If I do this for a week, will you buy me the gift?” She agrees. He does the chores, and she buys him the present.
I posted it because of the story’s educational implications, but I want to add the following. I have six children of various ages and temperaments and no matter how highly motivated, not one of them would be able to follow through on Efi’s promise without frequent reminders. According to research, even adults need about three weeks to establish a habit.
This post was inspired by Raanana Ramblings.