“Do not look at the shortcomings of anybody; see with the sight of forgiveness. The imperfect eye beholds imperfections. The eye that covers faults looks toward the Creator of souls.”
(Abdu’l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 93)
I chose this virtue for a reason: as parents we often tend to forget that forgiveness is so simple, especially when it comes to forgiving ourselves for being unfair to our little ones or not having enough patience to train them.
Everyone makes mistakes. It is true. But through mistakes we learn. And giving someone, even ourselves, another chance is just what we, human beings, do. Forgiving someone for making a mistake, no matter how big, is showing love and compassion. Helping someone and ourselves learn through the mistake made is a process, sometimes it is a very complicated one.
So how can we help our little ones learn forgiveness? Well, children are born with a natural ability to forgive. It is with the time and under the influence of adults that they learn to stop forgiving. So we don’t need to teach them much on how to forgive, but we rather have to nurture this wonderful virtue and ability.
Here are some thoughts:
1. Don’t be afraid to admit you made a mistake. It is much more embarrassing when the little one realizes that you were wrong all the time.
2. Ask for forgiveness: it is not hard to say “I am sorry” and mean it. However, teach your child to rather say “I will try to do better next time” instead of asking and having your child say “I will never do that again”. Yes, the child will and so will you – we are not perfect, but we can always do better if motivated.
3. Accept the apology. No matter how angry someone makes you, try to find that inner peace and forgive. Not for their sake – your own. Forgiveness and making peace with someone gives us a feeling of fulfilment. And it requires so much less energy than being constantly angry and frustrated.
4. Talk to your child. Have your child share with you whatever happens to him/her during the day. Communicating with your child and most important, listening to him/her helps you understand better what is going on in that little head and why he/she acts a certain way.
5. Pray and/or meditate. It really helps, whether you are religious or not. Meditation is a great way to single out and contemplate on why we easily get angry and why we can’t let go in order to forgive. Do it together with your child.
6. Try looking at everyone through a prism of love. This is the hardest. But when we succeed the satisfaction is immense.
I am not a perfect being myself. I do have things I have hard time to let go of. There have been situations in my life where I couldn’t forgive someone for a while. But I came about and I felt such relief. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. It also doesn’t mean saying you forgive but every time you remember you feel that grudge. Forgiving also doesn’t mean that you will stop feeling pain from being morally or physically hurt just like that. But it is the first step to healing and moving on.
If you have more tips – I’d love to hear about them!