Over 100 mechanchim and mechanchos logged in online for Igud Hamelamdim’s three-week series on middos and interpersonal skills. The course provided foundational attitudes to teaching middos and mentschlikeit in a real and effective way.
By Anash.org reporter
Over one hundred mechanchim and mechanchos logged in online for a three-week series titled “Making Menschen” on mentschlikeit, middos and interpersonal skills. The topic, which is emphasized by our Rebbeim as the foundation of chinuch, yet surprisingly overlooked, was given its due prominence.
The webinars were hosted by Lubavitch chinuch organization Igud Hamelamdim and presented by three notable Lubavitcher mechanchim. The course took place most appropriately during the days of Sefiras HaOmer when we are encouraged to work on middos and ahavas Yisroel.
The first presenter, sought after mechanech and chinuch mentor from Sydney, Australia, Rabbi Michoel Gourarie, explained how middos are fundamentally different from “good manners.” Going out of oneself and making room for others requires bittul, a critical ingredient for personal avodas Hashem as well.
Rabbi Gourarie discussed specific traits including kindness, anger, empathy, jealousy, happiness for others, and submission to authority, and also how to avoid creating fragile children who can’t concede to others. He outlined when teachers should get involved in conflict resolution, and how to give students the skills to resolve issues themselves.
Longtime popular mechanech, Rabbi Zalman Schapiro, today a teacher in Nyack NY, pointed out that middos are not automatic, and they take work and sweat. Recognizing that, allows us not to get frustrated at our students, and instead to teach them. “As mechanchim,” he said, “we’re not here to enjoy, but to give.”
Rabbi Schapiro taught how to teach middos hands-on. Like the Rebbe, we need to say little and do a lot, and teach by example. We need to catch students doing something good and make a big deal about it.
A rising star in chinuch, Rabbi Shmuel Wagner of ULY Ocean Parkway, spoke about the difference between middos and dry hashkafos, and why teachers should focus more on middos. Children will remember the emotions much more than what was said and we need to give them a “feeling” of middos tovos.
Arizona Mechanech Rabbi Yitzchok Miller shared his impressions: “The ideas were unique and not heard elsewhere! Going to the root of making menschen, yet so practically applied. There are many behavioral courses out there, but this was entirely different!”
Igud Hamelamdim’s director Rabbi Avrohom Bluming confirmed his experience. “Many participants were amazed by the unique perspectives and felt empowered to make their students into menschen.”
Detailed handouts with every webinar and session recordings were provided to all participants.
A rerun of the course and handouts are now available for a short time. Click here for more information.