There is a common saying among people of the Jewish faith: “adversity brings wisdom.”

Israel has a huge Jewish demographic. The country faces near-constant conflict with neighbouring countries and often suffers a scarcity of natural resources,  but it is still a nation of strength and integrity in a number of ways. One of the keys to Israel’s success lies in the way that traditional Jewish families educate their children.

1 . Money management

Jewish families often teach their children the “five bottle rule,” a canny method for managing money and cultivating sensible spending.

Jewish parents who employ this method assign chores to the children in their home, and set a certain level of remuneration for each job. When a job is completed, the child receives their allowance.

Every time the child earns some money they are instructed to put the money into a labelled bottle: one bottle is for “tithe,” or tax; the second is for charity; the third is for savings; the fourth is for investments; the fifth and final bottle is for spending, and is guaranteed to put a smile on their face!

The first three bottles traditionally receive one tenth of the earnings, the fourth receives one fifth, and the final bottle receives half.

The child is then offered kindly guidance on how to use their money. The charity bottle is only to be opened for charitable purposes, the savings can be only used when a member of the family falls ill, for example, and the investment bottle can only be opened and spent when full.

2 . Delayed gratification

Numerous psychological experiments support the positive effects of practising delayed gratification. The parents and teachers of Jewish children also appreciate its benefits.

Children are taught the tough lesson of how to endure temptation: no mean feat for a child whose senses are ignited by the colorful world around them. They are taught, however, to suspend their desire for immediate rewards for the sake of far bigger and better rewards in the future.

Children who are able to endure temptation are said to achieve excellent results in their education (Orionpozo/Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

When taught at a young age, this method helps children to develop formidable self control.

Over their lifetime, the rewards would become numerous. Practising delayed gratification improves social competence, self-confidence, self-worth, problem solving abilities, and even planning skills.

3. Cultivating self-reliance

As in many other countries around the world, a Jewish child reaching the age of 18 is free to go out into the world and embark upon an independent life.

In preparation for this, Jewish parents are careful to give their children room for self-development as they grow.

Most parents give their children the autonomy to solve problems on their own, and deliberately leave some challenges to be solved by their children in order to train effective problem solving skills.

A stoic attitude is often a positive side effect, and sets the child up for a successful and independent adult life.

4 . Imposing restrictions

A life of deprivation can be difficult, but the presence of restrictions often motivates people to work as hard as they need to achieve their goals.

Jewish parents and teachers often impose restrictions in the hope that it will hone their children’s desires and encourage them to set goals. Living in an environment in which all whims are not immediately catered to encourages children to grow up acting responsibly.

In modern times, many Israeli Jewish families manage to live in plenty, so offering children a comfortable life is not too difficult. However, the community upholds that if young children are too immersed in the enjoyment of life, they will become short-sighted, will not appreciate their parents’ efforts, and may suffer for their entitlement in the future.

Restrictions prevent children from falling into a constant state of craving pleasure.

There is much to be appreciated and learned from in the way that Jewish families bring up their children.

The responsibility-free years of early childhood are a blessing, but the early introduction of skills that will breed self-reliance and autonomy will set a child up for great successes in later life, in both their outwards achievements, and in their heart and minds.


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