The S.T.U.C.K. Method

Five Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being

STUCK on “You NEED to APOLOGIZE!”

7 Comments

blog My child got physically injured last week.

By another child.

In our community.

Unintentionally.

(You don’t really need to know, but I’ll tell you anyway: The injury was so bad that my child was rushed to the hospital and got stitches.)

Due to a rock thrown at her head.

Yes, I’m reminding you, it was unintentional.

At least that’s how the story goes.

And, honestly, I believe it.

And so, I didn’t really get upset with the child who threw the rock.

Instead I got stuck on the fact that she never came to apologize to my child.

You see, I am constantly telling me kids: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18).

It’s quite simple, I remind my kids.

“Do you want someone to throw sand in your eyes?  No?  So, don’t throw it at them.”

“Would you want that kid to say sorry for pushing you off the slide? Yes? So next time, you need to apologize for the same thing.”

My kids get it.

Sometimes they forget.

But, with a little reminder, they get it.

Because I teach it to them.

Over and over again.

sorry

So, in the afternoon after the incident, when my child returned from the hospital, and the parents of the child who held the rock came over to our house (without their child) and said, “Our child is really sorry for what he did.  It was an accident.”…

My child and I looked at each dubiously.

The child is sorry?

Really?

How do we know?

Why isn’t she here to tell us?

Something is wrong with this situation!

This is not how it’s supposed to go.

The kid is supposed to apologize.  Not, the parent for the kid!

Boy, was I stuck on frustration.

I thought to myself, perhaps I should have a conversation with the parent and tell her my feelings.

Tell her that my child is waiting for an apology.

Yet, I know that I wouldn’t feel good if another parent approached me and parented me, which is essentially what I would be doing.

Ok, plan B.

Plan B?

Stay stuck on frustration?

I know better than that.

It’s not the way.

Because it never is.

It just leads to suffering.

So, I decided to just notice my frustration for a few days.

Until it dissipated.

Which it did.

And came to the realization, that the best thing to do in this situation, is just to invest my energy in continuing to teach my children the way that I think is right.

And, not necessarily teach them how the other parents are wrong.

They may or may not come to that conclusion themselves anyway.

My only concern at this point is whether the absence of justice (in the child’s eyes) teaches a confusing message.

Your thoughts?

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Author: Shira Taylor Gura

Well-Being Coach, Podcast Host, Author of the award winning book, Getting unSTUCK: 5 Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being.

7 thoughts on “STUCK on “You NEED to APOLOGIZE!”

  1. my line always was”everybody does things differently. THIS is how OUR family does …-this or that-this is what WE believe is the right thing” they understood it and I heard them use the term in their own, non judgemental explanations , over the year. We do things a certain way because it’s the right thing to do.
    and take many deep breaths because other people, make raising OUR children more difficult.

    • Thank you. This reinforces my questions about whether or not kids get confused about this. Seems that if the parents are strong, and if the house is stable, the kids will learn it and get it, as you say. Thanks again for always writing!

  2. Shira, I am sorry to hear that this happened and I hope your son is okay and healing. I understand your frustration…. In terms of the other family’s response, I think it is important to give the benefit of the doubt… maybe the child was SO upset that she could not get herself to come apologize… maybe the apology will come later… The important thing is that you teach your children the way you think is right, as you wrote. It is a helpful lesson, in this world, for them to understand that not everyone does the same things that they do, but that YOU expect them to things a certain way. I am constantly giving this message to my children (examples, “That food is not for us. We eat other food”, “Yes, those kids trick-or-treat, but we don’t.”, “We apologize when we hurt someone and we ask how they are feeling. “) I know it is frustrating, but keep breathing……

    • Thank you. It’s a little frustrating, but honestly, hearing your words (and the words of the others who responded) make it seem so much more bearable and understandable… and know that I am not alone with this. Thank you for taking the time to write!!!! You are a great role model for me in many ways. Shabbat Shalom!

  3. Dear Shira,

    How are you? And your family? We’re thankfully well.

    I try not to post much, so I hope if it is OK if I share a response to your blog directly with you. First, know that your blog is very, very helpful as I try to be aware.

    Second, Gavi and I periodically encounter situations in which friends have different rules and expectations in their families than we have in ours. And though I agree that the child who threw the rock should certainly have personally apologized, perhaps you can simply explain to your child that not every family has the same sets of rules and expectations. With Gavi, I can add that (even though I’m not ready to be fully observant) I’m thankful we have many restrictions/rules/mitzvot from the Torah because I think that they tend to bring us much peace and joy.

    A wonderful woman in our community, who I look to as a model of holiness, responds to donations with “Tizkee l’mitzvot.” I love how it helps us see our obligations as actually being privileges 🙂

    hugs, love and missing you, Shosh

  4. Hi Shoshana,
    Thank you for writing. I hope you realized that your response went directly to the website. But, hopefully you are ok with this. Words words are inspiring and perhaps others will learn from them, as much as I do and always am.

    And, I love what the woman in your community says…

    Thank you for sharing!!!
    Miss you as always… have a wonderful Shabbat.
    Shira

  5. Pingback: STUCK on YOU were a stranger once, too! | Stuck on a Branch

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