Forgiveness; a virtue to instil in children

Forgiveness is important as it alleviates the mind and creates unity. Children need to be taught about why and how they should forgive one another. Forgiveness is the act of pardoning an offender. In the Bible, the Greek word translated as “forgiveness” literally means “to let go.” Forgiveness releases resentment and gives up any state of the hurt or loss you have suffered. Here are steps to teach kids about forgiveness;

It’s not about being right. Kids mess up with their siblings, friends and parents. They ought to say sorry when they make mistakes, even to a parent. When you hurt your child ask for forgiveness. It crafts harmony between you and your child. It is not about being right, rather, cementing your relationship.

Don’t put conditions. When you place stipulations on forgiveness, then you are not truly forgiving. Forgiveness should be free. Don’t tell someone to do you a favour in order to forgive them. Kids should know that when they forgive someone, they should not remind them in the future of how they hurt them. When you forgive, let it go, try your best not to think about the pain and the hurt caused.

It takes time. Don’t force a child to say sorry, rather, tell them about the power in forgiveness. They need to calm down first, give them a chance to forgive when they actually mean it, but not because you asked them to do so. Give it time.

Teach insight. Kids should be given an opportunity to see issues from their perspective sometimes. You should know what exactly happened between children in order to know who is in wrong. Don’t rush into asking a child to say sorry when you have no clue about what happened.

Don’t hold bitterness. Has anyone ever hurt you so much that when they say sorry you feel a load drop off your heart? That is how repentance is; encourage children not to be bitter about whoever wronged them. When you fail to forgive, you will always fall in past emotions and thoughts. Forgiveness releases all the pain and refreshes our minds. Remember that you are also not perfect, you need to be forgiven. Accept to forgive.

Treat others like you want to be treated. Make forgiveness a topic to discuss at school and home. Practice confession. Encourage your child to confess to someone they trust, either you or their friends about any harm they caused to others, meet the two parties and unite them through forgiveness. Teach about spreading love and care but not hatred and fights.

Accept the pain. A child needs to be guided to take in the pain and anger, because when they accept what has happened, they can be able to think about it and compose themselves on how to be better. Nothing can be changed when the pain has already been caused, however, teach kids to speak out about what has hurt them so that they agree to forgive and let go.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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