I have to laugh at my kids when they are in trouble and have to own up. The pointing finger immediately will go to the brother or someone else, forgetting that four is pointing back at him. It is also interesting to see the amount of effort put in to explain why it isn’t really his fault or it couldn’t have been so bad. Truly astonishing…
Now that they are bigger I keep telling them that the sooner they own up, the sooner the problem can be sorted out and we can move on. If they don’t own up, the problem will not go away and it will actually grow bigger with all the additional little lies that are told. This however, just does not seem to get through to them. So recently, I have started forcing them to repeat the following words after me: “I was wrong! I am really sorry and I take full responsibility for what I did wrong.”
Small number of words that are seemingly simple but very difficult to say. Together with a lot of laughter, because mom is very funny, it is amazing how difficult it is for them to say these words. The thing is, I don’t think it is easy for anyone to say when it is required. Look at work situations, politicians, even in your own life. And even if a person are sometimes forced to say that he/she is sorry it is normally immediately followed up with reasons why they were either made to do it or that it really isn’t so bad and lets just forget about it and move on.
Why is this? I think there are many reasons, but two really stand out for me:
- Weakness. The first I have seen especially in the work environment. Many places of work do not allow any flexibility for error. The result is that if you make a mistake there is a risk that you will be punished for it: Be it demotion, being fired or left behind when it comes to career enhancement. Rather than focussing on encouraging a person to own up and to learn from the mistake, it is seen as a weakness, and as we all know – only the strongest will survive!
- Right and wrong. The other reason which I think may be more serious is a worldly society that have no boundaries for right and wrong. The human race have become so intelligent in motivating their behaviour and actions that I think we have become our own worse enemies. Nothing is frowned upon anymore and therefore nothing we do is really wrong. Lets take it one step further: If nothing we do is really wrong how will we ever realise that we are sinners and that we therefore need Christ in our life to save us from ourselves? Scary… now don’t you think the old devil is smiling if he can get this right?
Is there a way to fix this? I think so and it starts with God’s Word and ourselves. As Christians we know that there is a guide for us as to what is right and what is wrong.
- God’s Word and the Holy Spirit. The first thing to do is to accept God’s Word as fact and not try and re-write the boundaries to it. As Christians we have the Holy Spirit in us that testifies to right and wrong. When your conscience starts plaguing you and you start to negotiate to yourself what you are doing is right, you must know that you are on the wrong track.
- Take it on the chin. The second is to learn to admit that you are wrong. It will help you avoid getting into deeper trouble and from a parent perspective it is a good example to your children to see that it is normal to make mistakes, but at the same time to try and not repeat it again.
Let’s start today practicing to say the following words aloud:
I was wrong! I am really sorry and I take full responsibility for what I did wrong