We all do it. No one is perfect. We mess up. We hurt someone in some way.
And we sometimes hurt our children. But here’s what I’ve learned: Apologizing begins to heal the hurt inflicted on another, but it also begins to change the thing in us that caused us to harm in the first place.
When we humble ourselves and admit our wrongdoing, we are actually creating an even safer place for our children. We will never be perfect, so acting as though we never do wrong, just because we are the parents, creates an atmosphere of expectations that can never be met. An unwillingness to admit our wrongdoings and apologize actually builds walls between our children and ourselves.
I remember one time when I was hateful in a response to Caleb. He asked a question that in no way deserved the harsh response I gave him. And honestly, I don’t know where the spite came from in me. It was just there, and I spewed it all over him. After a little while of sitting in the ickiest feeling, I went upstairs and apologized. It wasn’t easy. My stubborn, prideful self didn’t want to. I’m the parent after all. I’m the one with the authority. But I sat on his bed, looked in his eyes, and told him I was sorry for treating him that way. I told him that he did nothing to deserve that response, and that it wasn’t O.K. for me to talk to him like that. I asked him to forgive me.
And he did.
Right on the spot. Kids are amazing that way. I could immediately tell that he was better. The wounds from the daggers I threw were beginning to heal. And we were better. The wall my response had put up was torn back down.
And something in me was different. The grip that spite had on me, the ability to force it’s way out whenever it wanted to, was significantly weakened.
Apologizing, admitting when we’ve messed up, isn’t easy. But it is always freeing.
We want an atmosphere of forgiveness in our family. We believe it is a vital part of the Family of God, and our family, as a part of God’s Family, wants to express the forgiveness so abundantly given in Christ. And parents, it begins with us. Not only is it important to express a selfless willingness, even eagerness, to forgive, but it is just as important to express a humility that acknowledges when we hurt others. And, unfortunately, sometimes we hurt our children. I believe the best medicine for those times is to apologize. Honestly. Humbly. It is amazing the healing that comes to both sides.
Do you apologize to your children? Do you have a testimony of how apologizing and receiving forgiveness changed things?