Many kids these days are straying from the proper path. Much of that, of course, is social influence, peer pressure etc.  But we can learn from the example of Moshe (Moses), the faithful shepherd of Israel. He used to shepherd sheep and if a sheep would stray from the flock, Moshe would go after that sheep and if he saw it needed water, he would give water. If he saw it was tired, he would carry it back.  That is why Hashem chose him to shepherd the Jewish nation. And we also need to go after our children if they stray from the path and bring them back with kindness, with love, with care.  Sometimes we may even need to use stronger methods to prevent our children from doing something that would have disastrous consequences.  All of that is part of responsible parenting.

When the Jews were in Persia and at the time of the Purim story, Mordechai hatzadik wanted to bring the Jews back to the right path, to encourage them to return to Torah, he began speaking to them by saying “Holy Jews”.  He started with positive, good words to awaken the good inside each person. He did not start with rebuke. He started with praise.

At the time of Mattan Torah on Shavuot, when Hashem wanted to tell the Jews not to touch Mount sinai and not to try to go up it etc. , he started first by telling Moshe to tell the Jews they are His chosen nation, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.  Everything begins with positivity: with bringing out in the people a feeling of positivity and love.   Before educating children, we first need to tell them who they are: they are holy and good.

When parents want to rebuke or teach their children, they need to first say good things to the children. Words have a power to create. G-d created the world through speech.  If we speak negatively about our children, that brings out the negative parts of their characters . If we emphasize the good in them, it helps to reveal the good.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe said that when a parent or educator is speaking to a child, they should always be careful never to give the child a feeling of hopelessness or despondency. The child should always feel they can improve, do better, and overcome all challenges if they want to.  A child should never be left with a feeling of being hopeless, helpless or like a failure.  And this is true of adults too. 

Positivity is the key to bringing out the positive aspects and character traits in all of us.