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 are the feelers secular culture is guided by.
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.