We've heard it over and over again, but it's never enough: our children are and should be the focal point of the Seder on Pesah. If our children, when they are grownup adults, look back at their childhood and associate the holiday of Pesah with excitement and nostalgic memories, we can give ourselves a pat on the back with joy and gratitude. We must have done something right (with help from above, of course).
I was amazed and disturbed to read articles entitled: "How to survive the Seder with children" or "Ideas on how to tackle boredom at the Seder". As a child, I remember Pesah being one of the highlights of the year. We anxiously anticipated the holiday. New shoes were bought twice a year- before Pesah and before Succoth, and we looked forward to the special purchase. Being bored at the Seder was never an option! How could you be, with the special Haggadah songs and the delicious Pesah foods!
Hakham Yoseph Hayyim, 'a"h, the Ben Ish Hai, writes that the Neshamoth (souls) of even young children feel the deep secrets connected with Pesah. It is our job as parents to take advantage of this momentous time. Pesah is an opportunity to transmit to our children values such as faith in our Creator and Father in Heaven, Jewish identity and pride in who they are and where they come from.
I was saddened to read some practical suggestions, on an Israeli website, given to parents, as how to occupy children on the Seder night. An educational psychologist wrote the following: "Let your child draw on the side, play with an electronic gadget or watch TV". Unfortunately, such a child will not remember his or her Peash as a kid, with nostalgia and yearning.
Next week b'e"H, I will share with you some practical suggestions, which I hope will give you some idea as to how Pesah can be a vehicle to pass the burning torch of faith and continuity to our children.