Let’s face it; there is no way to avoid hurt in life. No matter how hard we try we will all be hurt by someone at sometime. If we are honest about it usually that hurt starts with our parents. Because all parents are human they make mistakes and those mistakes inevitably hurt us.
One life skill that my wife and I are attempting to teach our girls is the skill of forgiveness. Just the other evening after a long day when I was tired and vulnerable to be short with my girls; I said something hurtful to our oldest daughter. I could see the hurt in her eyes as soon as the words came from my mouth. She immediately left the room without a word spoken. My wife looked at me no words were spoken. I knew I had messed up!
Several minutes later my daughter and I sat down and I apologized for what I had said. My daughters response was, “It’s ok”. This is a very common response to an apology; however it is not the correct response because no matter how you look at it it’s not ok. I looked at her and said, “It’s not ok hun; will you forgive me?”. Then she said those wonderful words, “I forgive you daddy”.
Honestly there is more to forgiveness than this. Forgiveness is a complex process with many twists and turns. And it is our responsibility as parents to begin to teach our children how to forgive when they are young. At the age of 13 (almost 14!) it is time for my wife and I to start expanding on the principles of forgiveness and what makes forgiveness so important.
Finally, in order to teach forgiveness we must be able to appropriate forgive others. Let’s remember; non-forgiveness leads to bitterness that is a cancer to our soul. Help your children be healthy by being healthy yourself.