Much of today’s daf (Ketubot 70b) examines the question of agency and, in particular, the halachic question of when someone’s actions are considered to be an expression of the will of another, and when are they considered to be an exclusive expression of the will of the self – with the implication of this being that if someone independently chooses to act in a manner that aligns with the will of another, it is nevertheless considered to be an expression of themselves.
Aside from how this relates to the halachic discussions in our daf, this point is fundamental from a parenting and educational perspective, because while Judaism promotes the transmission of Torah values from one generation to the next, it also emphasizes the concept of free will and the importance of acting with autonomy and a sense of agency. Given this, the ideal way to raise a child to follow your values is to educate them in such a way that they autonomously choose to live according to those values.
Of course this is easier said than done, and just as there are those who fail to coherently transmit their values, there are also those who fail to empower their children to act with their own sense of agency. However, while a child is a direct descendant of a parent, they are nevertheless not their agent, and consequently the Judaism that they live must truly be their own.
On this point, I often meet people who are observant in practice, but who feel that they don’t own their observance. Instead, they feel that what they do is a reflection of the expectations of others, and that their Jewish life is simply an expression of the will of their family or their community. Admittedly, some people continue to life the rest of their life this way. However, there are many in this category who, at some point or another, make the choice to ebb away from Jewish observance because they are desperate to live a life that they feel is their own.
Given all this, what we learn from today’s daf is that agency demands autonomy, and that if you truly want to raise a child to follow your values, then educate them in such a way that they autonomously choose to live according to those values.