This I Believe

Genna - LaGrange Park, Illinois
Entered on October 1, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: forgiveness

This I Believe

I believe in forgiveness, not the forced kind most people practice, but real forgiveness when you feel bad and face your own regret.

Throughout my childhood I witnessed in my environment scolding, spanking, yelling, pushing, struggling, and forced apologies. One mother or father after another using the very popular phrase, “Say you’re sorry,” or maybe, “Say you’re sorry, and mean it.” I hated this phrase when I was younger, I felt threatened and guilty, which made me forget what I had done. I believe it’s hard to forgive someone when I can hear the sarcasm in his or her voice. Many children like me apologized, but for what? I couldn’t remember what it was I did, I just wanted to get out of this uncomfortable situation.

A month ago when I was babysitting I accidentally broke a plate when trying to heat something up in the microwave. I regretted the accident but I wanted to be honest and take responsibility for my actions. When the parents came home I told them the story and telling the truth raised their level of trust in me. I was glad to stand up for myself and deal with the parents directly.

Another part of forgiveness is self-regret. Many people can’t find ways to apologize and try to sneak out of it with a, “I’m sorry.” Some try to find blame or an excuse to turn the guilt around. I used to think forgiveness is stupid and to get out of difficult situations quicker, I just muffled a, “sorry” and forgot it ever happened. Now I think forgiveness is a simple concept, and if you think about your mistake, without force, it will be easy.

I believe in forgiveness because it can change your relationships in a good way. I believe in being able to apologize and forgive on your own. Children who are forced to apologize won’t get the right message, and it will make them not want to forgive others. Forgiving should be giving yourself or someone else another chance not a line that you have to say when someone apologizes to you. Forgiving can be simple, or complex and embarrassing. The sooner you learn it the easier it gets.