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If I Hurt You, Then I’m Sorry
This statement has stopped many wars in my house. My oldest two children are two years apart in age and would fight about everything and nothing when they were little. One would anger the other and then deny that it ever happened. One would accidentally harm the other during play and not want to accept responsibility for the other’s anger. Seldom did a day pass by that one of them was not screaming at the other for some horrible crime. It never failed when I would be brought in to mediate, they would both claim they were innocent and the other was bad. How many times did one of them try to convince me that the other was lying and just trying to frame them for a crime they did not commit? What’s a parent to do?
I believe very strongly in teaching my children to be accountable for their actions and choices. I want them to have their eyes wide open and to know full well that when they make a bad choice, bad things are likely to happen. And when they make good choices, that good things are likely to happen. I have worked hard to get them to grasp the concept that if you treat people badly, they will not like you. Also, do not mess with other people’s stuff without asking. It doesn’t matter if you are “a beautiful child of God”, nobody will want to hang out with you, if you tick them off. Simple facts of life, but I do not see it being taught in today’s society as much as I would like. They say that we learn our social skills from our siblings and the neighborhood children. We mimic what our parents role model for us, but we research its effectiveness on our peers.
One of the things I hated most in my own childhood was being forced to apologize
for things I did not do. I also hated being forced to apologize when I was simply
defending my person or my property from a known attacker, mainly my younger sister
and brother. I have also saw too many adults in my life apologize for things they
were not sorry for and then later they just repeated the same actions over and over
again. When people say they are sorry, I often think to myself, “Good, then don’t
do it again.” Changing the behavior is so much more important to me than just offering
up the words, “I’m sorry.” I wanted to teach my children that you should never offer
fake apologies and you should only apologize when you really mean it. However, I
also wanted them to take responsibility for the environment of anger that they were
helping to create. Somehow, I had to find the perfect peace-
What I finally stumbled across was a twisted compromise. When you are feeling falsely
accused of something and the other person will not back down, then you simply say,
“If I hurt you, then I’m sorry.” Then you bite your tongue, hard. Don’t say another
word. Don’t snicker and don’t sneer. Just say it straight-
It did not take long at all for me to see that this statement works just as well
in the adult world too. Try it at work on a coworker some time and see how well
they respond. Try it in your marriage. Try it with your extended family. It works
on so many different levels. It can be said in light disagreements or in major all-
I do not think it works for heinous things like rape, murdering someone’s loved one, arson, or military warfare. It only works for forgivable stuff. If you believe everything and everyone is forgivable, then you can try saying it, but I expect nobody will really buy into it. If Hitler said it to the Jewish people or Charles Manson said it to his victims’ families, I doubt seriously that it would have created any real peace. When something truly ugly happens, you do have to flat out admit full guilt and a full real apology is mandatory before real forgiveness and healing can begin to occur.
This form of apology is not for that sort of thing. This is meant only for the hundreds of petty squabbles that we are drawn into and it is a way to create a general atmosphere of peace and healing. This is for the people that you ultimately want to stay close to. This is an apology for those annoying people that you love with all your heart, but do not want to fight with anymore.
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