What are the hardest words to say? Some say, "I love you" others, "Goodbye" but I have come to the conclusion that "I forgive you" pretty much tops the chart. Working at a day care, I have been able to observe and note the behavior of children amoungst children. It has always amazed me how quickly kids forgive each other. Take our class bully GB, who is always picking on everyone, including his so called friends...GB will totally bully and beat one of his friends down and leave them crying, then have the audacity to lie and blame it on them. We are forever punishing him to no end and of course we always make him apologize to whoever he was mean to. I never to cease to be in awe of how easily the other children forgive him. The same kids who five minutes ago were having their hair pulled, face stepped on, stomach jumped on, tongue pulled, or face spat on by GB are right back with playing him. I don't really know if that categorizes them as truly forgiving, or just plain naive...
Often I've thought how different we as adults react when soomeone wrongs us. Forgiving people who offend us never comes as easily and usually they haven't beat us up, poked us in the eye intentionally, or given us wet willies repeatedly. When does the change take place? When do children have the change? and Why can't we forgive and pick right back up where we left off? Why is it so hard for us to forgive others, but then when it comes to us needing forgiven we expect to be forgiven all? It reminds me of a passage in Matthew, "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
Right up there with "I forgive you" are the words "I'm sorry." I have also seen how willing most children are to admit they did something wrong and say they are sorry. I emphasize that sentence on the word 'most', however. Take little "Mano" as I call her, a little two year old girl whose stubborness often gets the better of her.
Yesterday during snack time Mano was playing around being her normal goofy little self. I told her to settle down, to which she responded by dramatically falling on her bottom, off her chair and onto the floor, making all the other children around laugh. Their laughter only egged Mano on, so she continued falling off her chair and rolling around on the floor.
"Mano! Get off the floor, sit on your chair, and settle down right now!" I told her in my strictest voice possible.
My jaw dropped when Mano looked back at me with her big blue eyes and blurted out, "Youuuu are uglyyyy, and I'm not gonna listen to youuuu!"
I could not believe my ears, sweet two year old Mano had an evil streak in her. I reprimanded her and another teacher told her to tell Miss Nicole "Sorry". I knelt down on the ground and got face level with her waiting to hear her apology, but nothing came out of her red little mouth, nothing except a little giggle. Okey, so now she was not making this easy on me at all!
Little Mano sat in the time away chair for a good five-ten minutes before she finally whispered, "Miss 'Cole, I sorry for being mean..."
To which, of course, I responded with a hug and an "I forgive you."