Nurturing Healthy Roots

Nurturing Healthy  Roots in Jewish ChildrenIT’S NOT JUST TREES that require healthy roots to be big and strong; humans need them, too. In honor of Tu B’Shevat, we offer the wisdom of outside resources pertaining to the nurturing of healthy roots in children.


To raise a child who is secure and independent, plenty of attention and affection is needed. Learn more about self-esteem:

  • “Life Is for Love”
    When we are attentive to a child's needs, we create a sense of security and confidence -- what psychologists call attachment -- and this provides the internal strength children need to handle stress later in life. Learn more from Pennsylvania State University scholar Dr. Jay Belsky.

Maintaining a healthy connection to the environment is invaluable for any child. Consider these ideas:
  • “Nature Rocks Activity Finder”
    Nature Rocks is a national program created to inspire and empower families to play and explore in nature. The organization’s “Why Nature Rocks” lists five reasons for helping children to get in touch with nature.
  • Children & Nature
    The Children & Nature Network is a movement aimed at connecting children, their families, and communities to nature through innovative ideas. Visit the organization’s website to learn more.
  • Nature Activities for Families & Groups
    Sharing Nature Worldwide is an organization founded by nature educator Joseph Cornell. It offers nature-focused activities that families can enjoy together.

A healthy person is one who is connected to those who came before us (dor l’dor). There are many resources available to help parents raise connected children. Here are few:
  • “Grow a Tree”
    Making a family tree can be a big project. These tips will help you “grow” a great one!
    JewishGen offers a wide range of genealogical resources including databases, articles, societies, projects, and discussion groups. It's also host to the popular JewishGen Family Finder (JGFF).
  • Family Tree & Other Family Crafts offers a number of fun, creative projects for children and parents alike. For example, learn to make a paper family, a semi-circle ancestry chart, or a family collage.

The special Jewish moments that occur between a parent and child can be remembered for a lifetime. Consider these ideas:  
  • “How to Talk to Your Kids about God” attempts to help parents respond with simplicity and sophistication to the questions from young children relating to their concept of God.

In addition to many pearls of wisdom above, parents can get inspired by a fun song, “My Roots Go Down.”



In 1979, Sarah Pirtle wrote “My Roots Go Down,” under a winter full moon. As Pirtle explains it on her website, she had been attending a retreat led by Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb when the idea came to her. “I began singing it publicly later at the Seneca Women’s Encampment in 1983,” she says. The song has been recorded by several people including Velma Frye, Tom Pease, Bruce O’Brien, and Bonnie Lockhart.

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