Thursday, March 13, 2014


I came across this wonderful anecdote the other day.  Its simplicity and wisdom struck me as profound. 

I agree that the above statement is easy to say, but often very hard to do.  Yet, for our kids to grow into uncomplicated, optimistic, happy adults we need to teach them how to say they are sorry, ask for forgiveness, let negative thoughts go and move on.

To apologize is to recognize and admit that we have made a mistake.  Sometimes it means admitting our lack of good judgement even before anyone else realizes.  It may mean asking for permission rather than asking for forgiveness.  In other words, not attempting to get away with wrong doing and then, if necessary, saying we are sorry only when we are found out.  We demonstrate a true apology by not repeating the wrong.

Forgiveness means to accept someone's apology for a thoughtless or deliberate act that has hurt us. It may even involve an incident that led to the crippling or death of someone we love.  A lack of forgiveness hurts us and those around us.  It binds us.  It can screw us up.  It can lead to medical issues if we are so consumed with anger and an unwillingness to let it go.  Is it easy to forgive?  Not at all!  It is one of the hardest things a person is faced with, especially if it has tarnished their image or taken a loved one away from them.

There is an old country song that says, 'Forgiving you is easy, but forgetting takes the longest time'.  There are times when I wish I could forget the negatives as quickly as what I forget what I came into the next room to get.  What a blessing that would be!

We really do have to make a conscious effort not to dwell on a hurtful situation, but to keep going forward.  There is nothing wrong with telling the person that offended you how it felt and the effect that the grievance has had on you.  You may even say that it will take time to reestablish the quality of relationship and trust you had before.  However, if you are not actively trying to bridge the gap, or still talking to friends about it, then you are not really 'forgetting'.

We will never be free of hurt if we do not follow the quote above.  The best time to teach our kids these principles is as soon as they can understand what hurting someone else means.  When we tell them to say they are sorry, get them to repeat why they are sorry.  Then have them hug each other as an act of caring.  Remember, too, that they are looking at how we forgive and what we say after a hurtful lapse in a relationship to see how it is done.  If we cannot do it, then we cannot expect them to successfully forgive others.

The secret to being brave, strong and happy is acknowledging our weaknesses, repairing damage and learning from those experiences.

Written by Sally and Brian Burgess

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