The Yom Kippur prayer known as the Vidui, or Confessional, is one in which each Jewish congregation stands up and collectively takes responsibility for its sins. Regardless of whether or not we ourselves have committed a given wrongdoing, we confess to it and thump our chest in contrition. We do so collectively so as to not shame those who have done these things, and to facilitate their admission and recognition of their wrongdoing.
Too often, the prayer is recited as rote – we read the words, but do not feel them. Therefore, I’d like to posit The Parent’s Vidui. These are all based on the traditional translations of the Vidui text, altered to place emphasis on how we treat our kids. You may not have done everything in this list, though certainly each of us is guilty of something.
This is a collective apology, to our community and to our children. We confess and hopefully will turn to a new path of better parenting in the year to come.
Ashamnu – We have trespassed onto our children’s privacy and independence by hovering.
Bagadnu – We have done improper things, and have convinced ourselves that our actions were in our childrens’ best interests.
Gazalnu – We have robbed our children by not giving them our full attention when we are with them.
Dibarnu dofi – We have spoken slanderously of others, and have done it in front of our children.
He’evinu – We have caused our children to sin by not showing them the right way to act.
V’hirshanu – We have caused others to do evil by encouraging our child’s bad behavior.
Zadnu – We have scorned the honor of our own parents.
Hamasnu – We have touched our children in anger.
Tafalnu sheker – We have venerated and associated ourselves with people who are poor role models for our children.
Yaatznu ra – We have given our children bad advice.
Kizavnu – We have lied, whether for a good reason or not.
Latsnu – We have scoffed at Jewish traditions and have ignored who we really are.
Maradnu – We have rebelled by going against our Jewish heritage and failing to explore ways to make it mean more to us.
Niatsnu – We have used profane language in front of our children.
Sararnu – We have yelled at our children for being disobedient, but have been disobedient ourselves.
Avinu – We have intentionally done things wrong, knowing that they’re wrong and not caring about the consequences for our children.
Pashanu – We have denied Judaism in our homes.
Tzararnu – We have stirred the pot of gossip against our fellow parents and have encouraged bad feelings between parents.
Kishinu oref – We have been stubborn with our children when we should have been flexible.
Rashanu – We have acted as though the rules of our homes do not apply to us.
Shichatnu—We have let ourselves be angry, and become angry more easily than we become calm.
Tiavnu – We have worshipped idols of materialism and superficiality and have taught our children to venerate them as well.
Ta’inu – We have gone astray and have been an unworthy example for our children.
Teetanu – We have gone astray deliberately, because of having chosen to do so, and cannot see the parallel between our childrens’ behavior and our own.
Sarnu – We have deliberately turned away from respecting authority, yet we expect our children to respect us.