Every child is a human being. And every human being has dignity, value and worth. But sometimes we forget that children are people. Yes, they are younger, smaller, weaker. But that doesn't make them any less of a human being. They don't have less dignity, value and worth than full grown humans.
And when we, as parents, screw up against our children, our kids need to hear two words:
These two simple words are even better when followed by "Will you forgive me?"
But why do these words seem like the hardest words to say, especially to our own children?
A few reasons:
-It is a humbling thing to admit we are wrong to those closest to us.
-We think they won't get it or that they missed how rude, selfish, or mean we were to them.
-We think that because they are children, they don't deserve to be asked forgiveness.
I remember when the oldest of my three children was around 3 years old and I lost my temper and yelled at him to bring his shoes to me. After I had asked him several times. I could give you all the excuses as to why I snapped. I could tell you why I was so frustrated at his not paying attention. I could even tell you I thought I had the right to snap at my child, because I am the mom, and I need him to do what I ask.
But excusing my behavior, dismissing my error, and assuming I don't need to treat my child like a human being is wrong and degrades their dignity, value and worth.
Every human being under our roof, no matter the age, size, talents, abilities or specialities deserves to be apologized to when wronged against. Even my one-year-old could tell when I was sorry and asked for forgiveness. She would hug me and snuggle into my arms, restoring relationship with me.
And we may find we have to do this often. Maybe daily. Because we wrong one another all the time, especially those who are around us all the time.
There is so much room for wrong-doing but just as much room for making things right.
We will inevitably hurt our children, fail them and bruise their souls. But we can also apologize, admit wrong and make room for grace in our homes. Asking for forgiveness can often speak louder than the hurt. Grace. Forgiveness. Humility. These are what make a home beautiful.
Children know. Children see. Children feel the wrongs against them.
And they also know, see and feel the humility, forgiveness and restoration.
May we be parents who are quick to say "I'm sorry" in our homes and create a culture of forgiveness. May we build up our children as we stoop down, eye-level and humble.
May we raise a generation of forgiveness-askers and restoration-seekers.
May we ask for forgiveness, just as we would want done to us.