The Art of Apology
My bickering children paused mid-argument and looked at me, dumbfounded. “You heard me. Socks off.” Brows furrowed, my children—then about 6 and 8—did as they were told. “Thank you. Now, onto the couch.” The quizzical looks continued, but they climbed up. “Turn and face each other.” Glares commenced. “Come on, now. Look at your wonderful, marvelous, fantabulous sibling.” That at least got me a snicker. They turned to face each other, swinging their bare feet to the middle of the couch. “Now, sit feet-to-feet, hold hands, and say, ‘I love you, my dearest darling!’” Their eyes widened and the corners of their mouths began to twitch. Then they took the bait: “I love you –” (snort) “my dearest –” (squeak) “darling!” The giggles escaped, their bare toes wriggled, and the formerly strained atmosphere was instantly more relaxed.
Whether it manifests itself in grabbing a blob of playdough from a friend at preschool or in the angry accusations of a teen’s texts, parents have plenty of opportunities to guide their children in the art of apology. As with any art, apologizing takes time and consistency. We parents have the responsibility of introducing our children to this “art class” from a very early age. If we are wise, we continue to “enroll” our children as they grow. Eventually, they will learn to master their art in a way that nourishes relationships and brings peace to their own hearts. Let’s look at some ways we can teach our children to “MASTER” the art of apology.