Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Importance of a Sincere Apology

An apology note from my daughter.
I’ve tried to instill in my kids the importance of apologizing when they do something wrong or when they hurt someone’s feelings. It doesn’t matter whether the offense was big or small, intentional or accidental. And it doesn’t matter whether the other person accepts the apology or ‘deserves’ it. These days it seems that far too many people have lost the common sense and the responsibility of a simple “I’m sorry.” And I don’t want my children to join this number!

My 5-year-old daughter’s reading and spelling abilities seem to be improving by the day. She takes so much pleasure and pride in being able to read and write some now…so much so that her favorite pastime right now is writing people notes. Her beginner’s spelling abilities don’t hold her back either. She plods along, sounding things out to the best of her ability.

She produces artwork now that has a ‘to’ and ‘frem’ note scribbled on the back. I get little love notes from her that say ‘I love you Mommy!’ and that feature lots of purple and pink hearts. She has started writing little poems and stories, wanting to be just like me. But the note that touched my heart the most was an apology note that said ‘i AM SOREE.”

Last week, we had a rough day. My daughter was feeling cranky and tired. And she just didn’t want to do school. I told her that she HAD to complete her school work for the day because school is very important. Suffice it to say she didn’t take kindly to my reasoning and once again told me that she hated me.

I had been having a rough day, too, so I teared up a little at her outburst. I sent her to her room for a timeout so she could calm down and think about her behavior. Five minutes later, she returned to me with her little note. I read it and then asked her what she was sorry about. She immediately started crying and told me, “Mommy, I’m sorry that I made you cry. I don’t hate you. I love you so much! I’m sorry I was so mean.”

She gave me the biggest hug and then gave me a kiss on my cheek. Her brown eyes still glistening with tears, she smiled and said, “Mommy, I promise to write you a note every time I make you mad or sad. Then you will always know I’m really sorry because I work very hard at spelling my words!”

This got me thinking about how so many people can’t even take a couple seconds to say they are sorry, but my little girl spent 5 whole minutes trying to figure out how to write out ‘I am sorry’ for the first time. Why is it that as we get older we change? Is it pride or rudeness? Do our hearts become complacent or even hardened? Are we too rushed to notice that we have wronged others or too busy to care? If only we could throw all of that away and just apologize immediately, life would be a lot simpler and more pleasant, wouldn’t it?


  1. I think a lot of times people don't realize that what they may say in anger is hurtful. I think it's an important life lesson your daughter learned. Words can hurt. But they can also heal. When I taught 8th grade I made a bulletin board filled with famous quotes under the headline of "Words are Powerful. Choose Yours Carefully."

    I'm stopping by from A to Z and I like what I see so I'm going to stick around! Looking forward to seeing what you focus on for April.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Heather! I'm excited about the A-Z Challenge and hope you come back soon.