The Art of the Apology

And no, I don’t mean a defense of anything. And, yes, I am sorry about there being an unintentional pun based on a political candidate I refuse to name so that his name is searchable on my blog. Ok, anyway.

I mean a good old fashioned, “I’m sorry.” How I do hate saying those two words! It’s almost more than I can tolerate having to form those two short words into a sentence and aim them at another human being. I’d much rather give a justification for myself, or a defense of why I’m still wrong… And, yet, I am learning that may be what’s wrong with American culture at large.

As Americans, we have “pride” and “dignity” and “a sense of divine favor” that gives us, if we’re honest, a bit of a complex. From the top down it seems as though we are entirely averse to the idea of admitting our mistake and working to rectify it. Do you want societal change? Good luck, since it will most likely require a person, group, or department to admit a mistake and begin working to correct it.

And, yet, I have been constantly reminded lately of the power of pity. Not a pity party, mind you. Instead, the idea of living in humility and actually inviting pity when we mess up. We offer no excuses, we justify nothing, but instead simply acknowledge the mistake out loud and then ask for partners in fixing it.

If I live my life in a constant state of concern over someone catching me in a mistake – I’m going to have ulcers. Instead, I am learning day by day to simply admit I made mistakes, and will probably do so again tomorrow.

Kids appreciate an apology when adults make a mistake. They learn that mistakes are part of life and that admitting them and then fixing the problem is the right plan of action. They learn that “sorry” isn’t passive, it’s active, and seeks to right the wrong done with real, practical action.

Do your kids see you apologize? Do they see you fix mistakes? How do your kids respond when they are caught in a mistake?

“[…] and forgive us our mistakes, as we forgive the mistakes of others […]”


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