A major problem in society today is that we lack “kabbolos ol”, meaning accepting the yoke of Torah without questioning and simply because these are the commandments of the Creator. People today try to justify being lax in many areas, somehow imagining that we have the right or option to decide what things we want to observe and what things we do not. This is because people no longer have that attitude of subservience, humility and kabbolos ol that characterized previous generations. That of course also leads to lack of respect. It spills over into all aspects of life.
Why do children today have difficulty respecting and revering their parents, teachers, clergy etc.? It is because of the same idea: lack of subservience. Somehow children think they know better than their elders! They think many things do not matter. This is because we tend to think our minds are intelligent enough to make all decisions on our own. We have lost the art of looking up to elders, to Torah, and to accepting a force higher than ourselves or our minds. This is what causes the degeneration of society. And this is what causes a lot of unhappiness and confusion in the world.
In society today we often hear children and teenagers saying “Don’t tell me what to do”, “I can make my own decisions”, “I don’t need your advice”, and “I am old enough to figure things out on my own”. Where did such ideas come from? What does that even mean, to have the audacity to say to a parent “don’t tell me what to do”? Why is it wrong for a parent to tell their children what to do? Parents have experience, wisdom and a keen understanding of their children. They are the first ones in society who should tell their children what to do. If children have any intelligence, they will listen and deeply consider what their parents say. Certainly they will appreciate advice and not look down at their elders or scorn them. They may not listen fully, but they will hear and they will be grateful to have someone giving them direction and guidance in life.
How should one help to instill fear of Heaven in their children? In Torah we learn that there is “an Eye that sees, an Ear that hears and all of one’s actions are recorded in a Heavenly book”. The Lubavitcher Rebbe said this should be told to young children constantly so they realize that they cannot hide or cheat or do things wrong in secret. They need to know there is a consequence to their behaviors. All of this is part of education and instilling proper values in our homes.