When is the last time you apologized for something? Did you really mean it or were you just keeping the peace? Do you apologize to your kids if you wrongly accuse them? These questions have been swirling in my brain lately as I work on reconciling my marriage. Contrary to what some think, our children take in SOOO much! They sometimes even give out good advice! My eleven year old recently said to me: “Mom, I’m so proud of you for accepting Daddy’s apology. I bet it was pretty hard to do.” You could have knocked me over with a feather. The children don’t know all of the details of split or reconciliation, but sometimes the simple truth is so poignant.
What does it mean to forgive and forget? Is that practice even appropriate these days? Every major world religion has some version of the old adage, “To forgive is divine”. So if we are being good Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, or ________ (insert your faith in the blank), then we are supposed to accept sincere apologies and attempt to move forward with grace. But good golly Ms. Molly! It’s a lot harder than it sounds in practice. I mean only fools continue to repeat mistakes over and over again right? Where’s the middle ground? And more importantly how do we teach our children to find it and live gracefully?
Of course I don’t have all the answers. Even if I did, you wouldn’t want to read my smug blog posts about how I’m the living example of divine living on earth, so how about I just tell you what I’m thinking these days.
1. Forgiveness is good for your soul. It frees up some space to remember playdates, grocery lists, and good sales you have to hit this weekend.
2. We should practice apologizing to (and in front of) our children. They get to experience first hand the imperfection of their parents and how to be a good forgiver and forgivee.
3. Each situation is unique. We should teach our children to look within when deciding whether to reconcile or let go of a relationship with a friend or loved one. It’s how you feel inside that is MOST important, you’ve got to live with you for a looong time. The opinions of loved ones are to be carefully considered, but you are the president of your united state of being. Make executive decisions and be willing to live with the consequences.
What’s your best apology advice?