Cornell University psychologist Uri Bronfenbrenner agrees with Julius Segal, and adds that children crave the respect, acceptance, patience and feeling of being cherished from at least one parent or other significant adult in their lives.
In 1990, the late psychologist and author Julius Segal wrote an article of exceptional depth, wisdom and practicality for Parents Magazine.
In considering the impact of what is arguably the single most cataclysmic event to befall the United States in this generation, professor Lew Smith of Fordham University wrote in Education Week that social institutions such as schools must seize this moment in our history to define their purposes.
A small but meaningful reversal of the exodus took place after Sept. 11. Jews in communities across the country returned to their synagogues for spiritual sustenance during this crisis.
More than any one single thing, parents want each of their children to grow up to be a mensch. I have asked parents and educators across the spectrum of Jewish observance and belief what they want most for their children, and this is the answer that comes up more often than any other. Interestingly, when I ask the same question to non-Jewish parents, I get the same answer, though they don't use the same word. Parents want their children to grow up to be knowledgeable, responsible, nonviolent and caring. They want their kids to be concerned for others, their families and communities; good team players, yet also possess good leadership skills; decent and ethical; to love justice; to feel compassion for others and to act on those feelings; and be the kind of person one can count on, an all-around complete human being. In other words: a mensch.