Monday, August 6, 2012

Saying Sorry

There was an article in the Sunday Times 2 weeks back that touched on the topic of saying sorry. Do you or your kids have problems saying sorry sometimes?

I went to pick Nathan up from school one day... Instead of having him run to me as he usually does, he was sitting on the floor in his classroom, staring at an open book in front of him, and when he saw me, he burst into tears.

From his teacher, I learnt that he had a fight with one of his classmates. He tore a drawing that his classmate Isaac brought from home. Isaac got mad, and beat him. When they were asked to apologize to each other, both refused, and started to cry.

So that night, just before he went to bed, we talked about what had happened...
Me: Nathan, what happened in school today? Why were you crying?
Nathan: I tore Isaac's drawing... and Isaac beat me.
Me: Oh... why did you tear Isaac's drawing?
Nathan: - no answer -
Me: What was on Isaac's paper?
Nathan: A lion. His daddy drew it for him.
Me: Oh... was it nice?
Nathan: Yes.
Me: So why did you tear Issac's paper? Was it a nice thing to do?
Nathan: No.
Me: It was not right of you to tear Isaac's drawing. You know that?
Nathan: Yes. I cannot tear Isaac's paper.
Me: Shall we draw another lion for Isaac? Then you can give it to him when you see him in school on Monday?
Nathan: OK. Let's draw. Let's draw a lion mask.
Me: A mask? Good idea. We'll do it tomorrow. Then you will bring it to school and give it to Isaac. And then you have to say sorry when you give it to him. OK?
Nathan: OK.

So that night, he said sorry to God for being naughty, and for tearing Isaac's drawing.

The next morning, we started working on the mask.

Halfway through making the mask, he decided that he wanted to keep it for himself instead of giving it to Isaac. I was half expecting him to say that, so I had already drawn out two outlines for him to paint. He was glad when I said we'll make two, so he can give one to Isaac and keep one for himself.

We wrote a note at the back of the mask, and I reminded him to say sorry when he gave the mask to Isaac.

The completed mask...

He was really excited when Monday came around... and he brought both the masks to school. In the car, on the way to school...

Me: Nathan, what do you have to say to Isaac when you give the mask to him?
Nathan: I have to say sorry.
Me: Yes. Do say sorry that you tore his drawing... and you can ask him if he likes this one you made for him.

And that day, when I picked him up from school...
Me: Nathan, did you give Isaac the mask?
Nathan: Yes. Isaac likes it.
Me: Did you say sorry?
Nathan: No. I didn't.

For some reason, Nathan didn't want to apologize to Isaac this time around. Most times, when he does something wrong, he'd apologize. I have no idea why he didn't want to this time. Maybe it was a case where he felt he wasn't entirely in the wrong... I've been guilty of not wanting to apologize or not wanting to be the first to apologize too. That's usually when I feel that I've done lesser wrong. That's when I need to heed Ephesians 4:26, "in your anger do not sin, do not let the sun go down while you are still angry".

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