Daddypotamus here. You know, I often worry that time is passing by too quickly and I’m not doing enough to parent my children and prepare them for life.
When these moments come, I either slip into a frenzied despair or I plunge headfirst into a project so I won’t have to consider the possibility.
But there are these rare moments that shimmer like Peter Bishop and it hits me like a cheap shot with a ton of bricks: our kids might actually be okay.
It was time to give Mommypotamus a break, so the kids and I found our way to the play area inside North East Mall. Katie was being her usual friendly self, walking up to total strangers and treating them like friends. Somewhere in the buzzing madness of children flittering here and there, Katie fell down and another girl proceeded to jump on her. Katie’s first dogpile didn’t go over so well. From the opposite end of the play area, I heard the distinct sound of my daughter’s scream.
After calming her down, which I accomplished by telling her that we had a limited time left to play, Katie said she wanted to confront her offender.
“She might say sorry,” was her reasoning.
I was skeptical. The average kid I see playing at the mall seems to have no interest in apologies.
I quickly reminded Katie that we need to forgive people who hurt us, even if they don’t ask. Not because I cared about her character so much but because I didn’t want her first conflict resolution with a stranger to blow up in her face. She nodded in that i’m-not-really-listening-but-nodding-is-the-0nly-way-to-get-away-from-you kind of way.
I cringed, wondering if she’d come back unable to recover because some girl wouldn’t admit fault or apologize. And yet, I keep my distance, watching from afar. I see the other girl mouth the words, “I’m sorry.” And above the noise of all the other kids I hear Katie say, “It’s alright. I forgive you.”
Then the two girls hug. Next moment they’re holding hands and running together across the play area like the best of friends. #heartwarms
Before you shrug this off as yet another strange and nonsensical kid moment, think this through with me. I watched parents’ reactions to Katie’s public forgiveness. They were shocked. They were stunned. She used language they didn’t expect a three year old to know. Heck, some of them might not have ever even heard an adult utter those words.
Forgiveness is an overlooked necessity in 21st Century relationships. It’s not cool. We men tend to pretend the offense never happened, as though admitting a wound is a sign of weakness.
To hear my daughter practicing the art of making things right with someone who offended her makes my heart supremely happy. She’s really learning something. It won’t always turn out this way, obviously. Lots of people, especially total strangers, won’t be always falling over themselves to apologize and make sure she feels okay. But for today, it’s enough to know that she’s practicing REAL relationship skills with real children.
What are some ways we can prepare kids for real life relationships? Share your ideas below!!
Photo credit: Terriko