Teaching Our Children About God


By Rabbi Dana Saroken, Beth El Congregation

I feel like it’s never too late to foster a relationship with God. And… I also think that one of the most beautiful gifts that we can give our children, is the sense of God’s presence in the world and in their lives from childhood. The truth is, that this doesn’t have to be hard. Especially when our kids are young, giving them a sense of God’s presence can happen in the most natural of ways.  

I remember when my daughter Maya was about four years old, we were lying in the grass in our yard at Green Tree, looking up at the sky and watching the clouds overhead. I asked her what images she saw in the clouds passing over us. She shared her ideas and I shared mine. After a little while, I paused, and said, “Isn’t it amazing to you, that God created each and every one of these clouds?!? Aren’t they spectacular?!” That summer, we went to the beach and when we watched the waves crashing on the shore line again, I paused and shared my sense of awe. “Isn’t it amazing that God created oceans and all of the fish and creatures that live in these waters?!?”  

There were other things that we did as we raised our kids to foster their sense of God’s presence in their lives and in the world – incorporating Jewish rituals into their lives by waking them up with the modah ani prayer of gratitude and tucking them in with a medley of songs and prayers ending with the hamapil forgiveness prayer before asking God to send down the angels to watch over them as they slept. 

But the process really began with the simple expression of awe and gratitude to God for rainbows and clouds and oceans and sand. One doesn’t need to be a rabbi or know how to read Hebrew or understand the Talmud to do this.  Just start by pausing. Take in the wonders of the world. And say “wow” out loud.  

You will be amazed at the difference that these shared moments can and will make in gifting your children the presence of God.  And… most importantly – enjoy the process! 










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