When our children need forgiveness. When Mike and Ellen learned that their 11-year-old son had been picking on a child with cerebral palsy at school, Ellen says she felt physical pain upon hearing the news. “The principal gave the details of what our son did,” she says. “I was ashamed of my son.” Ellen says that for about a week, she felt such fear about the person her son might grow up to become that she could barely look at him. Then she and her husband decided they needed to look at their son’s action, terrible as it was, as a cry for help.
Through much discussion, they discovered their son was carrying his own anger and hurt. Mike and Ellen began therapy with their son, met with the family of the other child, and made some changes in their son’s life. “I could not forgive my son right away,” Ellen says. “I couldn’t trust him. I needed to take action to help him heal, and it was then that I started to forgive him.”
Brigid, mother of four, said that she had to forgive her teenager for an action she describes as devastating. “One thing that helped me forgive was to not let the one event become the entire child. I made myself recall that on the scale of the stupid and dangerous things that teenagers do, this was on the lower end,” she says. “I also identified my role in what happened and increased my vigilance where it had fallen slack.”
Maureen, also a mother of teenagers, agrees that forgiving is difficult, but she keeps in mind that her responsibility is to be a role model for her children. “Whether or not my child has asked for forgiveness, whether or not they deserve it, I must forgive 70 times seven times,” she says. “Oftentimes, when my children apologize, I respond, ‘I have already forgiven you.’ ”
By Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the Best in Class award in 2014 from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for four years running. Here’s a sample issue.
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