108: Forgive But Don’t Forget

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Two Simple Ways to Teach Forgiveness

Learning how to forgive can take a lifetime for some of us.

But what if we could teach our kids at an early age to forgive? Holding on to anger and the victim mentality has been scientifically proven to have negative effects on our lives and relationships.

First, let's look at the definition of forgiveness.

forgave play \fər-ˈgāv, fȯr-\forgiven play \fər-ˈgi-vən, fȯr-\forgiving

transitive verb

1to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) pardon 

  • forgive one's enemies

2a to give up resentment of or claim to requital (see requital 1) for 

  • forgive an insult

b to grant relief from payment of 

  • forgive a debt

No, where in that definition does it say that the “offender” has to do anything different. They are not fixing things or undoing the damage. It is just the forgiver making the choice to let go of the anger.

The person forgiving doesn't need to agree, like, or forget what was done to them. They only need to let go of the hate that is only hurting them.

One of the best things you can do to help your kids learn to forgive it to say sorry when you have messed up. admit when you are wrong and say sorry.

Another way is to simply explain what forgiveness is. So often we think that forgiveness is to forget what has happened. Or that they will need to be friends or spend time with the person that hurt them. Those things are outside the realm of forgiveness and don't have to happen but that is hard for a child or kid to grasp unless it is explained.