Friday, February 5, 2010

Is forgiveness natural?

Normally I like to spend some time researching the psychology behind some of my own children's behaviors, but on the topic of forgiveness I'm relying on my first hand account from the playground. After spending some time at my kids school and watching the interaction of all the kids on the playground one day it occurred to me that this environment is a great lab on human behavior. The youth have yet to develop their emotional and learned responses to many of life situations instilled in them by us parents and caretakers. What is fully on display is the raw God given natural reactions and I think we all have something to learn, or relearn on the subject of forgiveness.

After witnessing my daughter getting knocked over by an older boy on the playground and giving her a hug until the tears subsided I experienced forgiveness, again. While my daughter sobbed on my shoulder and dribbled out an almost incoherent banter that she wants to go home, the boy in question is very mean and that she doesn't like him, and so on. I started to see what forgiveness is. While my daughter sobbed the boy who had knocked her down continued to run around the playground, but he kept sneaking looks over at my crying daughter. On his own he ventured over to us and without prompting he apologized to my daughter and quickly ran off. Almost on cue, my daughter stopped crying and more so stopped complaining. She stated boldly that she was fine and now wanted to return to the jungle of play. I asked her if she was still upset with the little boy and she said no it's ok and quickly ran off. Well this sucks. The little boy apologized and my daughter forgave him, but I had not forgiven the boy..yet.

Seeing my kids get hurt does not leave me feeling very endeared or hospitable to the perpetrator. I realize that as my daughter sobbed and complained about being hurt, I was silently joining her. Then all was forgiven, but I was still in a non happy place so to speak. Not only did I watch two children forgive so quickly, but there they were running around the playground as if nothing had happened. Now I was all alone feeling upset that my daughter was hurt, but it was over. Is forgiveness natural? I would have to say yes from this and many other similar experiences of children I have witnessed.

I still have a lot to learn from my children.


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