How to teach forgiveness to children? – Part 1
Posted on: April 22, 2016.

Author: Mrs. Radhika Mohan, Educational Consultant

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Life is all about realties every life situation teaches us and gets us closer to facing the realities of the world. The world is not a bed of roses nor is it a manger of thorns. Life is full of ups as well as downs. Shouldn’t we not make our children aware of all this?

Yes, we must teach our children the realities of life. Life hurts us, people hurt us, we hurt other people, and we hurt ourselves. That is what relationships and life are all about. The sooner we expose our children to such life-oriented actualities, the healthier their life approach will be. We must teach them that life is not meant to be fair. The greatest teachers of love and pain will certainly be the outcomes of the relationships our children will be in and out of, when they grow up. The best context for them to use forgiveness will be only in their relationships.

Forgiveness has got multi faceted degrees of acceptance and rejection. We must teach our children that forgiveness is not just reconciliation. It should be an enlightened reconciliation. It should be an enlightened acceptance. It is not about condoning harms which are dealt upon us; it is a weapon that aids one in taking power back. It is a victory of oneself over oneself. It is the path to success – the foundation to one’s spiritual empowerment. It is the way to Godliness.

How often we tell us children, “Say sorry to your sister. You broke her toy, didn’t you? Children will listen to you and even instantly apologize. But are we sure they really ‘feel’ sorry or are they just mouthing the word ‘sorry’ because you said to say so.

A sincere and straight forward apology requires one to swallow one’s pride and can be difficult to say. It is equally difficult for one to also forgive. In fact, I think saying sorry is easier said than for one to forgive.

Forgiveness requires one to lower their defenses, swallow their pride and accept genuinely that the opponent could have done wrong unknowingly.

Just take the example of name calling someone. It may seem a simple thing in the eyes of an adult. But to a child it could be an offense that has deeply hurt him / her and hence forgiveness cannot come out that easily. The emotional baggage may be too heavy for him / her to put aide easily and forgive the one who has bashed it on him / her.

Forgiveness is a phenomenon which could pop up every now and then in a frequent manner, all through one’s lifetime – as long as one lives with relationships – family, friends, acquaintances and society, at large.

Children need to understand this. Every now and then, someone hurt them, someone does harm to them – offenses could be minor or major. Why, it happens through those closest to them or even through strangers. To safeguard one’s life from getting strewn with unhealthy relationships, it is crucial for children to learn the practice of forgiveness, right from a young age.

Children should also be taught to know the consequences of choosing not to forgive someone. They should know the havoc, the damage that lack of forgiveness can cause unto them. They should know how lack of forgiveness can clearly sabotage their relationships with only their offenders, but also with their inner consciousness lack of forgiveness directly affects our inner consciousness _our inner state of awareness, our well being. As we hold on the emotional baggage of hurt, anger, aggression and despair, these heavy monsters will log us down, thus disallowing us E hear the inner voice in ourselves. The littleness inside will also take a toll on one’s physical body as well as dampen one’s emotional state of well being.

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