This just might be a good time to really think hard about what saying sorry means and have that talk with your child. This year, we saw so many instances where people were put in positions that required them to apologize for their behavior and things they have said.
Some of those things are much too heavy for our children. But as we saw them play out surely you had thoughts on how it could have been done better and should have been done better.
Didn’t make you wonder if these adults who were put into those positions never learned the humility of the apology?
Or did they just learn to say they were sorry when they really didn’t mean it or learned to do it in a way without admitting guilt?
When a child comes to you crying, knowing they did something wrong, you can tell they feel badly. They are not sure how to express their feelings. I think the first step is to help them acknowledge what they did to be sorry for.
Did they push someone? Say something mean? Refuse to share? We’ve all been there when our kids do something in your midst and you say, “Jo, tell him you’re sorry.” And they give a sad little, “Sorry”.
When I was in fourth grade and a student at the school where my mother was a teacher, I called a substitute teacher a name that involved some choice language, wrote it on a piece of paper and passed it to another girl in class. When the note was discovered, I was marched down the hall to my mother and was in a load of trouble. I got a spanking later at home, too. I was so ashamed.
Later that night my father was hit and run over by a car. For months he was in the hospital. Of course, I thought it was my fault and carried the guilt around for a long time. I remember going to the hospital and crying on my father’s chest as he was unconscious. Later that night, at home, my mom talked to me about the day’s events. She told me what happened to my dad was not my fault. But what I said about the teacher was wrong.
She asked me why I did it. I told her to fit in so I would not be “Miss Goody-Two Shoes” since she worked at the school. We discussed why my actions were wrong and how I would apologize.
The events of that day have stuck with me for a lot of reasons. So has the lesson of that day: Sorry is a learning process. Our parents told us to always treat others as we would want to be treated and our sorry needs to be a reflection of that as well.