Rav Avigdor Miller on Don’t Let Your Children Learn From Experience

print

 Q:
Should a parent let a child experience things on his own so that when he finds the truth he’ll be stronger because of his experience? 

A:
And the answer is that very often it’s too expensive to allow a child to learn by experience. If you’re going to let a child fiddle around with a lighted gas range, so the child won’t have a chance to learn from his experience. Because it’ll be too late. You know, there are people who allowed their children to learn from experience but their children aren’t around anymore to use their experience. And therefore you have to use your experience and transmit it to the child by means of words and by means of a strap. A strap is a very good conductor of experience! You take the things you learned already – let’s say you learned that to run in the street, to play in the street, is not conducive to good health. But a child doesn’t know that. And so, when a child persists in running into the gutter,  you’re justified in being strict and chastising him. It’s the biggest hatzalah. You’re saving his life.

And when Hakadosh Baruch Hu chastises us, He does the same thing. He transmits His experience, His knowledge to us too. And therefore we can’t afford to let anybody experience anything! Vicarious experience is the best way. Now, I know a case of one Rosh Yeshiva who made a very big error. And he still thinks he’s right! He said that he allowed evolution to be taught in his high school. And when there was a complaint about it,  he said, “Better let the boys come into contact with it here than on the outside.” He wanted to inoculate them. So, if he would inoculate them with arguments against it, maybe. But he was inoculating them with arguments for evolution because the teachers were apikorsim. So what kind of a talk is that?! It’s just an excuse because he wanted to use the free school books that he gets for nothing from the government, and that’s his excuse. It’s not innoculation. –  it’s irresponsibility! We cannot let our children experiment. Once a child gets hooked on bad things then it’s almost goodbye.
TAPE # 203 (February 1978)