Hypocrite or Parent
Obviously, being perfect would be nice and if I get there I will send you an email, although perfect people might not have email. But the painful truth is, we all want our children to do better than we.
The Talmud says, there are two people you aren’t jealous of, your child and your student.
Rabbi Noach Weinberg tz"l explains what a hypocrite really is. If the father in the scenario above would say: "I am not an alcoholic, and you shouldn’t drink." That’s a hypocrite. A hypocrite is a form of a liar.
One of my students told me a conversation they had with their daughter about an issue equally as difficult as alcohol, it went something like this: "I have battled this problem all my life, and I wish I could admit that I have beaten it, but that’s not the case. But what I can tell you is this, with everything I know to be true, give it up now, because it not only gets more difficult, with more problems, but every day you don’t stop, is another day it gets worse."
As far as I know, she listened. This is a father; this is not a hypocrite.
In whatever form you want to say it, you have to declare: "This is as far as I have achieved in life, be greater than me, soar higher than I, be better and learn more, and especially from my mistakes.
It’s not only OK, but this is what we have to do, as a parent.
One father told me he couldn’t demand of his children to marry someone he didn’t. "Why," I asked, "don’t you know that’s right?" "Yes, for sure," he replied, "But how can I tell my children to do something I didn’t?"
Because you are a father!
As long as you are honest, as long as you are aware of your shortcomings, you can, and in most cases will be successful.
But, living in denial and thinking you will be successful, is a fools game. That doesn’t mean you should tell your children everything you have ever done, even if they ask. Your personal life is not an open book to them.
There is nothing glamorous about not being perfect, but it’s a lot better than pretending you are.