I yelled at my son today. A lot. Things that typically don’t set me off, set me off this morning. He got time out more than I care to admit. I even sent him to his bed at one point, just for space and so I could take a deep breath and calm down. I clearly woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I did not sleep well, but that is no excuse. He is only two and a half. He is learning a LOT every day. He is in the “why” phase and constantly asking questions because he is just curious about life. He has tons of energy and I don’t provide him with enough of an outlet to expend that energy.
I felt terrible and needed to hit the reset button. I sat him down with no distractions, looked him in the eyes and apologized – profusely. I explained to him that mommy is not perfect and that I lost my temper. I explained that I should not yell and that I should be more patient with him. I explained that his actions did not deserve my reaction. I gave him a big hug and a kiss on the cheek and I asked him to forgive me. All of this to which he responded “yeah.”
He is two. Did he understand what I said? Probably not. Was it still important to say? Yes! We need to lead by example with our children. I teach my son regularly to apologize if he is mean, hits us, loses his temper, takes a toy from another child, talks back or even kicks the dog by mistake when he is trying to wrestle. If I expect it from him, I should hold myself to the same expectations. We all should.
We can’t raise vulnerable, compassionate and caring people without modeling it to our children. We need to teach them to acknowledge when they have done wrong, be brave enough to admit it, seek forgiveness, and learn from their mistakes. “I’m sorry, I was wrong” are some of the most powerful words we can use in today’s society. In a time when everyone is pointing fingers and being self-righteous, we can teach our children and the next generation to lead with love. Be vulnerable. Ask for forgiveness and forgive others. Move on. Start fresh. Realize no one is perfect, no matter what social media may say.
You rarely see political leaders, coaches or people in the entertainment industry apologize for much of anything, unless they are forced to by the people or media. This is not profound leadership or a way I want my child to think they can live their lives. I can not let society’s lack of remorse and irresponsibility for their own actions rub off on my son. I need to step up and teach him that the respectable thing is to step up and take ownership of our actions.
If we pretend we are strong and don’t make mistakes, how can those around us accurately see God use us? In the Bible, James tells us that it should be a normal thing for Christians to confess their sins to each other. James 5:16 says “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Think back on a time when you should have apologized for something and did not. Consider if the apology is still timely and ask God for guidance. If you can’t remember something you should apologize for, pray and ask God to reveal that to you or for you to be more aware in your daily conversations and actions. Take the step and apologize. You may be met with a brush off that the apology wasn’t needed or it may just repair a broken relationship.