Chazal say that Yakov Avinu waited until right before he died to give his children mussar. How could he raise his children all those years without giving them any mussar?
Don’t make any mistake. Yakov Avinu gave mussar to his children from the very first day that they could understand what he was saying. Absolutely. He always gave them mussar. What it means, is that the sharpest kind of mussar, the mussar that bites, that’s what he left for the end. But he always gave them mussar. Don’t make any mistake about that. “Ho’chei’ach to’chee’ach es amisecha.” A son surely. And a daughter also. Always be sure (garbled).
Now, a man told me this week that he has a son that doesn’t listen to him. A young boy who doesn’t listen to him. So I said, “Call him in and caress his cheek and talk to him.” You should know that the words go into his head. Even though he may seem to not be listening, the words go into his head anyways. Give him a glett on the back, a caress on the cheek and talk to him. Parents who speak to their children should know that their words are heard. And not only if he’s a good child. No, any child.
And therefore there’s no question that Yakov and Yakov’s wives spoke to their children all the time. All the time! Only that sometimes, the most bitter truths that you want to say, you wait until the last moment because that will make the biggest impression.