The other day Liam and I were wrestling with each other. In the middle of our rough housing I gave Liam a light push and he fell down. He scrambled to his feet very quickly, came up to me, shook his finger, and said, “Mommy you don’t push me.” I blinked a couple times in surprise, but then looked at him and said, “You’re right Liam. I’m sorry. Mommy was playing and she got a little too rough.” Liam gave me a big hug around my neck, kissed me, and said I forgive you. He then went back to tickling me.
If adults forgave like toddlers there would be no grudges, no resentment, and I truly believe that world peace could be obtained. Unfortunately, as adults even when we forgive we don’t forget. For some conflicts it may even be impossible to forget, but moving on without holding onto it, is key. By keeping a tally of all the wrongdoings someone has done to you, it only causes bitterness in your life. It weighs you down and whatever issue it was has won. For Liam the minute he forgave me it was in the past. I know he will not bring it up again when future problems arise as something to count against me. As adults even if we say we forgive, we hold onto it. We don’t let it go. We either bring it up in a future fight with a spouse as ammunition or use it as a reason to push away a friend. Regardless we are always looking for a way for the wrongdoer to “earn” their way back into our good graces.
The beauty of forgiveness, true forgiveness is the freedom you achieve from it. If you can’t forgive the wrongdoing because you are still hurt, try forgiving just for your own peace at mind and let those negative feelings go. One of the biggest problems with adult forgiveness is that we are too busy thinking about how we have been wronged and never try to see it from the other person’s point of view. When our children misbehave part of the lesson is to teach them what they did was wrong and how it affects other people. Ava took Liam’s toy. Liam got mad and hit her. Ava cried. It is important for Liam to realize that although Ava shouldn’t have taken his toy, hitting her was wrong and now she is sad too. How come we spend so much time teaching our kids to see how their actions affect others but we refuse to do it with our own problems?
No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. We all are in the wrong at times. “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” Liam and Ava are constant lessons to me about the important things in life, such as forgiveness. If we could walk into situations with a clean slate with people we might actually be able to enjoy things better and coexists in a better place. At the risk of breaking into song, I think Idina Menzel sung it best, “Let it go, let it go.”