The Power of an Apology

For as long as I can remember, I have never been one to hold a grudge. I like to resolve things as quickly as possible because I can’t stand the thought of someone being upset with me and I don’t like being upset with others, either. I will even oftentimes apologize, even when I am not in the wrong. (At least I don’t think I am in the wrong. Ha! Kidding.)

I would rather things be at peace than be right.

As a parent, this can be extremely frustrating because our little people don’t always make the best decisions and aren’t always rational, either.

The other morning my daughter happened to look in her lunch right as I was sending her and her brother out the door to catch the bus, and she didn’t like what she saw. She then proceeded to begin walking toward the kitchen to change a few things out, which I promptly prevented her from doing being the bus was coming in a few minutes. This didn’t go well and resulted in both of us using raised voices and becoming extremely frustrated with one another. With maybe two minutes until the bus was to arrive, I frustratingly urged my daughter to get out the door and through tear-stained cheeks and a hood over her head she ran toward the bus stop and I immediately regretted the way that went down. I wanted to run after her. But it was too late.

I went on with my morning, distraught, and felt so guilty about what had happened that I called her school. I knew she wasn’t there yet, but I didn’t want her to start her day on the wrong foot and I just imagined her whole day being ruined because of our encounter.

The school secretary answered, and before I knew it I was crying to this sweet person telling her that my daughter and I didn’t have a good morning and how badly I felt, and I asked her if there was any way she could send a note down to her classroom for her to read once she arrived.

This sweet secretary felt the hurt in my voice and asked if I would like my daughter to call me once she arrived in class and I eagerly jumped at the suggestion.

About twenty minutes later, my phone rang and my daughter’s meek voice was on the other end. I began by apologizing to my daughter for what had happened that morning and asked if we could “start over,” which is something we ask each other if one of us doesn’t like how things are going. She agreed and I could feel a weight lift off of her, and then she apologized, too.

I then made it clear that from now on she would be packing her own lunch the night before to prevent this sort of thing from happening again, and she agreed to that as well. We exchanged loving words, wished we could hug each other through the phone, and then we both hung up.

Wiping my own tears from my cheeks, I now felt better knowing her day wouldn’t be ruined, and that I too could rest-assured all was well.

I think apologizing to your children shows them how important it is to apologize to someone else, even when it’s not easy to do. Oftentimes it’s difficult admitting any wrongdoing, but mustering up the courage to do so shows sincerity, humility, and a solid heart, and these are all qualities I wish to instill in our children.

When I find myself apologizing to our kids, I get down on their level, make sure they are looking into my eyes, touch their shoulders or hold their hands, and I say I am sorry. I might be sorry for losing my temper. I might be sorry for raising my voice. Or I might be sorry for not returning a paper to school on time. Whatever it may be, I think this process shows them that parents too mess up sometimes and that even as adults, we need to apologize. And as morbid as it sounds, what if that encounter was the last time? As a person who has experienced having a “last time” as a child, I am thankful my last memories were positive ones.

As a friend recently expressed, her fears of a school shooting happening are very present, and she never lets her children leave the house without things being okay. And as sad as it sounds, I completely understand her fears of this since our world isn’t getting any safer.

It doesn’t matter if you’re late. It doesn’t matter if they miss the bus. Stop, apologize, and make peace.

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I think it’s more important to apologize than to be right.

Comments

  1. Such an honest and sweet post! Isn’t parenting the hardest thing ever?!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I love this Shannon!

  3. Wow. This was so good it literally brought tears to my eyes. I’ve been in that same place SO many times and needed this reminder. Thank you! <3

  4. I love this! It’s so important to as parents to apologize to our children. We aren’t always right and it teaches them to own up to their actions as well.

  5. Beautiful post, and I certainly agree. And it might sound morbid, but it’s true that we live in a dangerous world – I don’t like the idea of leaving someone in a negative “situation” if you will. That’s great your were able to talk to your daughter when she got to school and I’m sure you BOTH had better days.

    -Lauren

    • Thank you so much, Lauren. I am the exact same. You just never know! And I do agree, both of our spirits seemed to pick right up. :)

  6. This is so relevant today. As a parent, we don’t have all the answers and from time to time we have to remember what we learned in kindergarten too.

  7. Such a beautiful reminder that we are never too old to apologize, especially to our own kids!

  8. Such a great post and reminder. Our kids are human beings with feelings, too. When I get frustrated, tired or simply mess up it’s great to know I can apologize to my kids. And right now while they are still young, at least, they always forgive me – which makes it so much easier to say I’m sorry. :)

  9. Oh I love this! It’s so important to teach our children the power of “I’m sorry.” Thank you for sharing.

  10. I love the message you presented. When I was growing up, it was not common for adults to apologize to a child for any reason. I have made a conscious effort to apologize to my children when communication has gone sideways. They need that example and deserve to have their feelings acknowledged too. I find that they are more likely to offer apologies for their interactions as well. I would appreciate the opportunity to feature this post on my blog too. (World of Writer Mom) Please message me if you are interested and we can discuss compensation.

  11. I love everything about this! I believe it’s so important for our kids to see that vulnerable side of us. It’s so important for us to be able to humble ourselves in that way.

  12. Carly Delengowski says:

    So important! Such a sweet and insightful post.

    xx Carly | http://www.thecarlycollective.com

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