Part of Being Human
Making mistakes is an inherent human condition; if we don’t make mistakes, we are not normal human beings. If, when we make mistakes, we are unable to forgive ourselves, we will never be able to properly forgive others. In this day of in-your-face, adversarial, confrontational behaviors, it is difficult for children to understand the concept that if people have a different opinion, it does not mean that are wrong. Forgiveness of others may be a pillar of living a Christ like life, but it is not always easy to follow.
Gone are the days of “shaking hands and making up.” Now there must be a wrong, and that wrong must be righted. But to forgive others, we know we must be able to forgive ourselves of our wrong choices, of our short fallings, and of our flaws.
I always tried to model this in my classroom. I was pretty quick to apologize to an entire class of students if I felt it was necessary. After one of these moments in class, I ended my apology by saying I was truly sorry, and I hoped the class could forgive me. After a few minutes of awkward silence, a student raised her hand and said, “That’s okay, Ms. S, we all sin in our own ways.” And from there class continued.
These are the very ideals that we want for our children. It is okay if children witness when we miss the mark with bad choices in our own life. It is okay that they see us admitting our mistakes, making the necessary adjustments and getting on with things. Because if we don’t, they may see us become negative, see us not taking full responsibility for our actions, and see us become bogged down into unproductive behaviors and attitudes. Through honest self-assessment, we can change our thinking and behavior; we can also forgive ourselves, move on and be much wiser for the experience. And what a wonderful lesson for our children.