DESPITE THE OVERWHELMING evidence to the contrary, I have faith that a beautiful future for ourselves and our children is attainable. I believe that human beings innately possess the tools to repair, have a desire to connect more deeply with the world and the ability to guide each other to do the same. So I asked, is there a system that exists that actualizes this potential, encouraging us to respect the diverse needs of all individuals, celebrating the earth and all of its inhabitants?
Learning about Positive Discipline infused me with new hope. As I observed the impact Positive Discipline had on those who experienced it, it was clear to me that this was the missing link. In a Positive Discipline world, everyone matters. Every opinion matters, every feeling is respected, every voice is heard, hurts are healed, wrongs are righted. Positive Discipline teaches people how to navigate their own complex feelings and seek answers to problems, centering around the core belief that empathy requires action, and there is no problem that cannot be solved if we work together cooperatively and respectfully.
Now more than ever we need educators, parents, clergy and community leaders who are able to model, nurture and support the life skills and characteristics that we want to teach our children. Torah learning and Positive Discipline are grounded in this very idea; Abraham Joshua Heschel recognized this, saying “What we need more than anything else is not textbooks but text people. It is the personality of the teacher which is the text that the pupils read: the text they will never forget”.
But, where do we begin? We start by making our homes, our schools, our places of worship and our workplaces the teaching grounds, as we infuse our daily interactions with the understanding that how we communicate matters most to our future.
But, just as I declared Positive Discipline to be the missing link, I rediscovered the Torah. I was born Jewish. My parents are Jewish. I married someone Jewish and we are raising our children to be proudly Jewish. However, in retrospect, I didn’t really have a deep understanding of what it meant to be a Jew… until I opened a Jewish day school.
I now know that a Jewish life has many ingredients, including a commitment to the collective healing of our world, and the Torah our guide. Positive Discipline guided me to see the Torah through a new lens, giving the Torah personal meaning. Though it, I came to appreciate Torah’s depth. And I now know how little I know, and it has inspired me to learn and continue learning indefinitely
All insights into human behavior and our relationship to G-d are contained within the Torah. I now have come to see Positive Discipline through a Torah lens, and this has brought my personal level of connection to Torah, and my Jewishness, to new heights.
Tammy Keces M.A. is the principal of Irvine Hebrew Day School and a lead Certified Positive Discipline Trainer.