Yesterday the whole family made a trek to a bookstore. We were all in one aisle looking at books. Asa was crawling around, Lydia was pulling on her Daddy’s arm to go LOOK! AT! THE! AMERICAN! GIRL! I was sitting on the floor reading a book about ::cough:: twitter. Suddenly, Lydia decided to give Asa a big hug. Around his throat. Then she thought it would be fun to pick him up. When I saw what was happening, I yelled, “Put him down!” And she did. Dropped him like a hot potato. It would have made his teeth rattle if he had any.
This is not a new occurence. In fact, a few days ago, I tweeted this:
I know she’s just having fun. She doesn’t know how delicate our little guy is. (He better enjoy being called delicate now ’cause I can tell my 20 pounder will never hear that description again!) But I can see something new developing…selfishness. She wants what she wants. Period. She can’t fathom that Asa has needs and desires (or bones that can be broken!). She’s 3 1/2. That’s just who she is. But, hopefully she won’t stay there.
So, this new sibling interaction has got me thinking about selfishness, learning to put the other sibling’s needs first and the fine art of THE APOLOGY. You’ve seen it happen before:
Kid #1 takes Kid #2’s toy.
Kid #2 wails.
Mom confiscates toy.
Mom makes Kid #1 apologize.
Kid #1 barely opens mouth and mumbles “sorry”.
It means nothing. The wailing may have stopped. The toy may have been returned to the rightful owner. But the matter of the heart (read: selfishness, greed, etc.) is still there!
Apologies should come from the heart. Jesus talks about reconciling with friends BEFORE you even ask God for forgiveness. After King David committed murder and adultery (yikes!) he repents and writes the song recorded in Psalm 51. He says, “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”
God wants us to be TRULY sorry…or rather truly HUMBLE. We need to realize that we’ve put our wants and needs above everyone else. I feel like teaching my kids to humbly apologize is going to set up their hearts to be able to easily (and quickly) ask for God’s forgiveness. I do not want to have their first “i’m-sorry” experience be a shoulder shrug, some eye-rolling and a mumbled “sorry”. God desires a contrite heart. And I think our family members desire the same!
YOUR TURN: how do you help your kids see the need to apologize? how do you help them do it? do you make your kids apologize to you? to their siblings? friends? what’s worked or not worked for you?