10 Teves 5779 / Tuesday, December 18, 2018 | Torah Reading: Vayechi
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A Parent's Responsibility    

A Parent's Responsibility

What happens if a person is displeased with his children because they refuse to observe the Shabbat, go with him to the synagogue or behave in a manner that he wants them to?


It's not a parent's intellect or income that determines his child's future – it's his personal holiness.


Sexual lust is tantamount to death, for it ultimately leads to bitterness and sadness of endless years wasted in chasing fantasies, in addition to the worst punishment of all – being severed from Hashem. Parents who fail to strive for holiness create a negative influence on their children. Many of their children's difficulties in life stem from their sexual lust. Yet, Rebbe Nachman says that there is no despair ever. Teshuva corrects everything. A person's efforts to rectify himself not only earn him a better future but generate a positive influence over his children as well.


When a parent sees that his children are far away from Torah and mitzvoth, or that they're lazy, disrespectful, ill-mannered or blemished in any other way - he should be ashamed, for he is the root source of their problems. But be careful; let the shame you feel be a catalyst for teshuva and the desire to get close to Hashem rather than for being sad and depressed. Not knowing how to deal with unruly or off-the-path children is a golden opportunity for a parent to make a new start, to accept responsibility for his actions in the past and not to blame his children for their character flaws.


Sometimes a person becomes a "baal teshuva", a newly observant Jew. He is now displeased with his children because they refuse to observe the Shabbat, go with him to the synagogue or behave in a manner that he wants them to. He then shouts at them, disparages them and destroys their confidence in themselves; that's not fair, because they simply mirror him. They are Hashem's messengers to stimulate him to do real teshuva. But, since he doesn't know that his lust and lack of holiness at the time of their conception caused them to be the way they are, he blames and torments them. Have mercy on them and realize that they are the product of your inner dimension. They should be angry at you.


Salvation begins with teshuva; when a person is ashamed of how he has lived his life until now and wants to rectify his misdeeds. So, if you see deficiencies in your children, run to Hashem humbly and submissively and ask Him to help rid you of lust. As far as your children are concerned, be merciful and understanding of the fact that they're suffering because of you. This will help you do sincere teshuva.


A person's efforts in improving personal holiness, especially during these weeks of "Shovevim", which are so conducive for doing so, can be the world's best springboard to both increased marital peace and better children.


Every mother and father should know how personal holiness, modesty and extreme caution in the media they expose themselves to have a deep and profound influence on the emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing as well as the future of their children.


This is the time to begin freeing ourselves from lust and creating a home of true love and holiness, with successful and happy children that are such a wonderful source of gratification in this world and in the next.

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