Rav Avigdor Miller on The Caress and the Potch (April 2000)

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Q:
How do I communicate with a child who is just not listening and doesn’t want to communicate?

A:
I’ll tell you one עצה. Take the child aside, when nobody’s looking and give him a גלעט, a caress on his cheek, and say, “Chaim, you’re a good boy. I know that you’re a very good boy. And I want you to try to do this and this, and you’ll see, everybody’s going to like you.”

Now, he won’t pay attention. No, he won’t pay attention to you. But it goes into his mind. It goes into his mind. Chaim is not a horse. When you’re dealing with a horse, there’s no use talking to a horse. But Chaim is a human being. And little by little it’ll enter his mind. Talking helps. Yes, talking helps.

Now sometimes a good hefty potch helps. Yes, oh yes! Sometimes a good potch helps. You have to use your mind. Sometimes both ways helps. But it’ll never be a waste of time to give Chaim’ll a caress on his cheek.

Last week I was walking in the street, and I sat down at a park bench. And a woman was passing by – a frum woman – with a little girl. And the girl was jumping around angry. An angry little girl. The mother stopped and she caressed the little girl. And the girl quieted down. Ah, that was good. It was good to see. The girl quieted down from her mother’s caress.

So to caress somebody is very good. And say, “Chaim’ll, you’re a very good boy.” Here’s a boy making trouble in the class. So the Rebbi takes him outside and says, “Chaim’ll, you’re a good boy. And for your benefit you should know that everybody likes you. And you want to be successful in this world. And you will be successful if you’re popular. So make it your business that everybody should like you here. And if you’re a nice boy, everybody is going to like you.” Now, the first time, he won’t pay any attention to you. The second time, the third time, a little bit. And little by little, it’ll enter his mind. You’ll see, it’ll enter his mind. It’ll have an effect.

TAPE # E-229 (April 2000)