Parshat Vayelech includes the commandment to gather everyone every seven years to hear the Torah being read. Men, women, converts and children are invited (31:12). The Gemara explains that while adults came to listen, learn and keep the Torah, the children were brought to reward their parents for bringing them (Chagiga 3). If the children weren’t there to learn, why would Moshe ask that they be brought, and why would there be reward merely for bringing them?
The Ramban explains that bringing the children to the “Hakhel” Torah reading is not for what they will learn, but for the experience of being there with their family. When children see the effort we put into learning the Torah, trying to become better people, or anything else, the value they attribute to that effort is increased. Not only does effort count, sometimes effort is everything.