I don’t know about you, but I’ve always struggled at properly apologizing and also forgiving others for their offenses toward me. It was something that Caleb and I had to work out when we were first married, and it was a topic that broached itself again when our children became old enough to talk. At first we were just having them say “I’m sorry” when they made an offense, but it rang hollow in our ears, and we knew that we needed to teach our children more.
Over the last month, though, we began doing something else. Before they apologize, we now talk with the offending child about their heart’s condition. Was he selfish? Angry? Deceitful? We discuss with him what the proper response to his emotion should have been. Then, the child goes to the offended and says something along the lines of, “I’m sorry I took the toy from you. I was being selfish. Next time I will ask you if I can play with it. Will you forgive me?” The offended child has always given his forgiveness immediately, with a quick hug and a smile. Relationships between the children are restored, and peace is again in our home.