Saturday, August 15, 2009

Instant Forgiveness-A required tool

In raising a boxless child (thanks to my friend Tara for the inspiration) as a parent we want to give our children all the room to grow and make their decisions with their consequences. We don't want to mold them into what's best for society or for our life. We want them to know true happiness. To be comfortable in their own skin. We want them to make the decisions that will bring them peace.

"Making choices that respect all parties", although the best way to solve any conflict or difference of opinion, is 8 times out of 10 not what we do in the heat of the moment. In those times we act from our ego state instead of our right mind. While being able to diffuse a conflict is ideally the best, what tool can I give my child to recover from the explosion that usually occurs? While it is important for our children to make their own decisions, it is also important to teach them the tools that will help in their decision making. The most important tool to help us in life is the understanding of the meaning of instant forgiveness.

Instant forgiveness comes in atonement. An instant reconciliation. It is forgiving the person who we feel has done us harm and then forgiving ourselves for our part in the situation. Trapping anyone in my head with conflicting thoughts does the "enemy", nor I any good. In fact it hurts us both. Peace can not come from hate, dislike,resentment or judgement.

So how do I teach my son to use this tool? It's benefits are not the easiest to see, when he's hurt because a friend declares "I hate you and you are not my friend anymore." How can he find himself to forgive automatically a person who has deliberately tried to hurt him as much as he can? I don't. Not right away. I give it time. It might be 3 hours or 3 days. Sometimes I'm still trying to help him understand after 3 months but he gets it eventually. Usually because he sees that having a friend whose company he really does enjoy is better than being mad. He likes the fun of playing without hard feelings. He likes knowing he can see his friend without the bullshit of egos getting in the way.

Another way to teach my son about this important tool, is by example. As a family we are big proponents of that 3 word sentence "I am sorry." This doesn't always come from a place that means I feel different about a situation or that I have changed my mind and see that my love one is right. It is apologizing for my part in the conflict. It is forgiving them and myself for the hurt that has been caused. It doesn't happen right away. Sometimes it takes 3 minutes, sometimes 3 hours and sometimes until the next morning, but it never takes more than that. We seek atonement because we want to be happy and we want to live in harmony.

I didn't learn about instant forgiveness early in life. As a family we would spend months not talking to each other after a conflict. Saying I am sorry was never common in our household. I learned to sweep it under the rug, but never to forget it. I don't blame anyone for this. Unless we seek other answers we only know what we are taught.

Maturity is a big part of obtaining the learning tools that give us peace. Looking every one we have a conflict with in our life, whether if be friends, lovers, parents, or our children, in the eyes and saying "I am sorry" every time helps us get it. It is not always easy, just letting the situation drift into the past is probably easier, but it doesn't bring us peace. Conflicts will always happen, but if we're not learning peace from it, then it becomes nasty and painful.

Even without our influence, instant forgiveness is easier to learn from childhood. I tend to think it's easier. Childhood is like cat play. When a cat can't catch the butterfly, it moves on. In that moment he forgives the situation. It doesn't hold resentment or get frustrated, it just sort of shrugs it's shoulders and goes on to the next act. For children to remember that as the best course of action for the rest of their life without support and good examples is harder than forgetting.

At times it is hard for me as a mom to forgive a child or mom who has hurt my son. But in those times I use all my self control not show this to my son. I don't want my ego to influence his decision making. That is not to say I don't want my son to see me make mistakes, but at the same time I don not want to put my thoughts, words or judgement into his head. But keeping our egos from influencing our children is another topic.

Understating our boundaries, is understanding ourselves. Understanding ourselves is living in peace. Living in peace happens when we have the tools to love ourselves and others. Go without boundaries but most important go in peace.