We all do stupid things. We’re inherently selfish beings who, at times, do things without any regard for others. We hurt people. Sometimes physically, sometimes emotionally, sometimes mentally. Basically, we’re all jerks at some point in time. Some more than others, but you get the point. Not one person reading this is ever going to say they’ve never been an asshole. If you were a toddler, you’ve been an asshole at some point. My two kids are generally lovable little beings, but both do malicious things daily.

As parents, we have lots to teach our kids, but when it comes down to it, our main job is to bring them up to be functioning members of society. We all may have different ideas of what that means, but it should all end up looking pretty dang similar.

But alas, it doesn’t always work out. Some people are just jerks. Like the kid who insisted on kicking my kid’s train every two minutes at his kindergarten orientation, he then proceeded to shove a girl and pinch her when she was down. That kid may grow up to be a glorious asshole.   To combat these types in the world, we need to teach our kids about forgiveness, in all its forms.

Fist Bump

Fist Bump

Firstly, I want my kids to be able to forgive those the jerks they come across out in public. I want them to know that it’s usually not personal, and if it is, it may be because they’ve learned that behaviour from someone else doing it to them. Maybe the person being a jerk is just having a bad day. Whatever the reason, I want to teach my kids to put themselves in the other’s shoes and see if they can figure out why that person behaves that way. I want to make little anthropologists out of them. I want my kids to try and talk to the other and ask how they’re doing. See if they can help in some way. If it helps, great. They made a new friend, or at least gained some insight into how others think. If that kid still wants to be a jerk, then at least they’ve learned another important life lesson: some people are just plain assholes.

I also want my kids to have the strength to forgive a loved one who messes up. This is something I had to learn well into adulthood. Even people you love can do crappy things. The fact that love is involved makes it more difficult to make peace with the other’s mistake. I want them to know that holding on to the anger or hurt that the loved one caused is more detrimental to themselves, than to the other person. Even if no remorse is shown, it’s still better to forgive, for your own sake. I just hope it isn’t me they’re going to have to try to forgive.

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 9.53.28 AMWhich brings me to the one type of forgiveness I want my kids to learn the most: To forgive themselves. They’re going to screw up. They’re going to get bad grades, detentions, and maybe even suspensions at school. They’re going to burn things on the stove, blow things up in the microwave, overflow the bathtub, spill crap on the rug, crash my car. The list goes on and on. It’s all going to happen. I want to teach them to go easy on themselves. No pressure is worse than the pressure you can put on yourself. Life is full of bad decisions. The trick is to learn from the mistakes and move forward.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”. – Mahatma Ghandi

 

 


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