It’s been quite a few years now since a young woman who was the director of a child-care center in La Crescent came and presented a parenting workshop at The Parenting Place.
One of the points she stressed and which I’ve thought about many times since, was the way most of us respond to an apology from someone.
She felt strongly that when the children in her care apologized to each other or to her or another staff person, they would hear back, “I forgive you”.
I’ve been aware of how most of us do reply to apologies from our children, our friends, our spouses and others in our life. And it’s true. We seldom give forgiveness and almost always resort to a more casual “It’s okay”, “Don’t worry about it”, “Forget it” , “It doesn’t really matter” or unfortunately, sometimes, “whatever”. With children, we may even begin to stir up the issue once again by repeating the reasons not to “do” whatever it was anymore.
When an apology is needed, it is because there has been a break in the relationship – no matter how minor or gaping. In order to absolutely clear the air and set the relationship back on track, a person hearing ” I forgive you” is comforted by those strong words, the hard feelings are removed and the burden of guilt is released.
A fresh slate has been established.
I thank this young woman for giving me food for thought and apologize for not remembering her name.
However, I’m pretty sure she’d forgive me.