Monday, March 18

Why Our Kids Apologize

I first noticed an article on why kids shouldn't be asked to apologize a year or so ago.
"That's strange," was my first thought.
I read it.
It made sense.
No bother teaching a child to lie and say they feel something they don't, right?
Feelings, feelings....hmm....
Feelings are the feelers secular culture is guided by.
But wait.
Something sat wrong with me.
Something was off.
A few more articles on the same gist.
There it was.
That is what was missing.
Respect for the other person and,
Learning to set aside our feelings to do what is right.
Because teaching our kids that their feelings trump doing what is right is not right.

So our kids apologize if they push in front of another child on the playground because it isn't right for them to put themselves first.  I don't care how loud they get and how much they want to be first or are angry they got shoved and so shoved back.  This is a heart issue.  I don't care if they feel it or not.  I am aiming to instruct them that doing what is right and honorable and considerate comes before acting on feelings.

Biblical restoration is in order.  In a four year old's life it looks like this: You hurt, you apologize and then you pay back in kindness.  That's the way it goes.

As a mom I know I don't always have the right feelings to go along with what I should be doing or saying but I sure hope that most of the time I'm doing what is right out of respect for the people around me.
Our children are welcome to say, "I was wrong" or "I'm sorry" or "Please forgive me".  I'm not caught up on wording. I want them to learn to recognize the attitude and action of a humble heart.

I yell at my kids and I apologize, even if I'm still feeling the feelings that got me yelling, because I know (and knowing is the key and what I'm teaching my kids to recognize and act on)...because I know that when I'm yelling I'm acting on a feeling that isn't a Christ-at-work-in-my-heart feeling.  I know that apologizing is the beginning of Christ-at-work above and beyond my feelings and if I had only ever been taught to say "I'm sorry" when I felt it, there would have been very little forgivenesses begun and wounds mended in my 34 years.

Apologizing is humbling.  I may not have been the most to blame.  I may have said nothing wrong but my words fell on a sensitive heart, wounding though it wasn't the intent.  I want to be right.  I want to get angry for twisted words and oversensitive emotions but "I'm sorry" and "Lets work this out" build a bridge or make repairs stronger than emotions.
And that, my friends, is why our kids apologize.


Tasha said...

Amen! I feel the same way. And I know for me once I apologize I feel about instead of that angry feeling I am hanging onto. I try to teach my boys the same. Thanks for sharing this.

Diane Estrella said...

perfectly put. :O)

fed up with your posts!! said...

"Feelings are the feelers secular culture is guided by"

really, so you are the judge of the entire secular world, you know how all secular people think?? That is incredibly self-righteous and condescending!!! Your posts just get more and more judgmental. Why don't you stick to what you know, your faith, and stop judging everyone else who does not agree with you. YOu say the world needs more of Jesus' love shining through you, well start by changing your own self-righteous heart and stop posting insulting things towards other people who believe and live differently than you do!!!

I know atheists and other secular people that act like they have more of the love of Jesus in their heart than your posts do.

fed up with your posts!! said...

And I used to be friends with you on facebook but your facebook posts are even worse. I unfriended you because your constant condescending, unkind remarks and pushing your beliefs and your beliefs only were so disgusting!! You have zero tolerance for anyone else that thinks differently than you, Hannah. Perhaps go back and read again what Jesus said to people who lived by their holy scriptures but had nothing but judgement to say about others.

It's impossible to relate to you or your faith unless a person thinks just like you, that's not gonna win anyone over!!

mandi said...

YESSSSS!!! Love the way you worded this! I have read this rhetoric too. You are so right! We are teaching the heart issue of "it's not about us, it's about them". Beautifully put.

Me said...

Dear Fed up with my posts. :)

No, I don't deem myself an expert on anything BUT google has over 38 million articles on the importance of feelings in things like decision making, staying married or divorcing, finding oneself, and on and on. Google secularism and feelings and there are over a million articles written by secularists on the two combined. 8 million on secularism and feelings. 18 million on secular culture and feelings. Perchance your argument is with google?

If you were my friend, as you say you were, wouldn't a friend have come to me in person and talked about such character issues as you see in my life? I hope so. Anonymous posts are easy outlets for anger. I don't know you and I can't speak heart to heart with you in this forum.

I wish you well,

Anonymous said...

Fed up:

Self righteous and condescending indeed.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

That is a gracious answer Hannah. This is just someone who obviously doesn't share your world view and was looking for an opportunity to let you know.

The thing I am always astounded by is this: A blog is a place for a person to write what they want to share. If a reader doesn't agree with the persons world view then they don't have to read it - no one is forcing them to read your beliefs or thoughts. Nor do they have to tell the writer in harsh language that they don't agree - they can just quietly leave your page.....


Michelle H said...

Her 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Well written, love reading your posts. All anybody has to do is watch just about anything on t.v.,read any mag, book, etc. The message to "follow your heart" or "listen to your heart" abounds. One of my favorite aspects of your blog is that you are refreshingly nonjudgmental while retaining Godly judgment. I was going to say more, but forgot when I read the other comments. I'm trying to wrap my brain around you coming off as condescending. So sorry for whatever has caused such anger in anonymous.

SwedestJen said...

I had wrestled with this very thing a bit ago... Well written! The other thing that I had come to the conclusion of was something...Piper? had said towards this topic.

If your children, sadly, never come to a saving faith in Jesus, at least they will be a benefit to society, having been taught moral decency.

And if they are taught these proper actions (regardless of feelings), if God does save them, then the Holy Spirit has already-established habits through which to work. If that makes sense... :)

And Fed Up? Thanks for a good laugh! Apparently you unfriended her on Facebook, but still read her order to judge her for her judgemental posts. Comedic gold right there!

Verna said...

Great post!! Thank you so much for sharing!

fed up with your posts said...

Hannah, I did come to you and you asked me to explain why. I took time out of my busy day and very nicely tried to explain to you why I found some of your posts hurtful. And you know what you did, you blew me off. You didn't apologize, you barely even responded, you told me if I have a problem with something that you post, that I should take it up with the author, not you. And then you iqnored me and anything that I said to you after that. Good day to you, I'm so sick of christians that act like they are better than everyone else. You have no idea how you all come across because you are so blinded by your religion. I thought you were different, and that's why I tried to become friends with you, but I was very wrong.

And Mrs. Rabe gave great advice, I'm not coming back here again.

Jen said...

Great post. I have considered those articles and knew they felt wrong too. I can see already that my oldest, at three, benefits from being guided to apologize. He can see how saying he is sorry and being kind to his little sister makes her feel better and him too, and he hears that it is the right thing to do. It obviously mends the breach. Little kids are simpler in a way, and make it more obvious. Thanks for erasing that little bit of doubt left in the back of my mind about doing this. :)

fed up with your posts!! said...

and by the way, the article was about birth control and it had some very unkind things to say about couples who use it. My husband and I use birth control. YOu made it very clear that you did not agree, and that you thought you were better than I am because you have choosen to not use any. I never, ever had ill-feelings towards you for being open about not using it, that's your choice. But then why, must you look down in holy, condescending judgement on those of us who do??

Anyway, I've said enough and you and your friends here obviously think you are right and everyone else is wrong so I will not be coming back to your blog again. If christians would spend more time loving and less time judging, there would be many more people wanting to follow your God.

Me said...

Dear Treena,
I wish you well.

In the past, I've answered your questions as best as I could, even directing you to one author of an article when I could not supply the answers you wanted. I could not find anywhere the impression you got that we haven't used birth control - it isn't true. While we disagree heartily with the abortative effects of chemical/hormonal birth control, we have spaced some of our children, which sets us apart from a quiverful movement, as you can read on my post on why we're not quite quiverful. Since you don't identify yourself as a Christian, I'm not sure I understand why writing that encourages Christians to embrace children as one of God's blessings is offensive to you.

I understand you're hurting and that I've disappointed you. I am not perfect and I'm okay with the process of Christ at work. Any time we look to a person or to a church for a perfect image of Christianity, we'll be disaapointed. Christ was the only one capable of walking out a perfect life.

I've tried to be honest and truthful in my writing and always, always feel my personal need for a Saviour. I don't,as you've implied, feel the need to cease writing because I cannot be perfect or please everyone. Jesus was the most offensive person of his day. Perhaps if you consider that this blog is my life and my walking out my faith with fear and trembling, you could offer more grace my way?


cookin said...

Hannah - I wanted to thank you for posting your outlook on feelings and apologizing in regards to raising kids. I feel much of common society is so very hands off when it comes to doing the "right thing" in favor of protecting their dear little one's feelings and egos.

I had a moment to read through some of the other comments here and while everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I hope you won't let the hurt feelings and accusations of another person slow or stop you from doing what you do so well here - speaking your heart and mind as you relate to the world. I for one love what I read here and always look forward to reading new posts.

Anonymous said...

Hannah, I haven't ever commented on your blog, but as I glanced at the comments here I just felt the need to say thank you for your writings, which are really thought-provoking and inspiring to me (which I why I continue to check back in here). I am not a religious person and I'm sure you and I disagree on many social issues, but I've never found your posts to be alienating in any way - quite the opposite in fact. Thank you for your honestly and kindness.
- Another Hannah