Yesterday at home Caryn and Jared were deadlocked to the television for some SpongeBob when I decided to play my guitar a little (right now my guitar rig is in our sun room which is connected to the living room). Despite my love for turning the amp up and letting the guitar wail and screamJ, I knew the children were enjoying their TV show. However, my daughter screamed “turn it down, turn it down” even though the guitar was not up loud. In a bit of frustration I responded sharply saying “shut up!” Now I don’t know about your household but in ours, “shut up” is not allowed. We can say “be quiet please” or “shh…” but not “shut up.” Nevertheless, I didn’t think much about what I had said at the moment but that would change.
So after a while, I noticed Caryn had an upset look on her face. So I stopped and asked her what was wrong and she looked at me and said, “Daddy, you told me to ‘shut up’.”
I knew right then that I was wrong and that I never should have spoken to her like that. So I quickly said to her, “I am sorry!” “I was wrong.” “I should not have told you to ‘shut up’. Will you forgive me?”
Of course she did forgive me and then gave me a big hug. As I have reflected upon this, I think my mistake turned into a great teaching moment for my daughter. We live in a culture where more and more people make excuses for their mistakes rather than accepting the responsibility for those mistakes and making the necessary apologies (and even in some cases, the necessary actions toward reconciliation). I thought it turned out to be a great way to show my daughter that when we make mistakes, when we do wrong, etc… – and we all do, even daddies – that there is nothing to be afraid of in admitting we have made a mistake, apologizing for that mistake, and asking for forgiveness from the person we have wronged.
I know this isn’t a lesson she will learn immediately but it is one of the virtues I hope my daughter as well as my son Jared learn as they grow up.
We all make mistakes, we all do something wrong from time to time…without excusing such mistakes, that doesn’t seem to be the biggest problem. The greater wrong seems to be refusing to accept our responsibility for the mistakes we do make.