When we are kids, one of the lessons that we learn is that when you do something wrong or when you hurt someone, you apologize. We’re taught that it is appropriate and necessary to apologize in order to fix whatever the problem may be. And while it’s a good rule to be taught, we also have to teach that rule with the understanding that apologies don’t fix everything.
I hear at least 10 apologies a day; usually from students who are fearful that if they don’t apologize for their behavior, I will send them to the office with a discipline referral. I generally tell them that while I accept their apology, what I really need for them to do is to change their behavior. I know it’s harsh, but in that situation, the apology is not the issue. Their behavior is. And if their behavior changes, then there is no need for an apology.
I’m currently at fault for a situation, and of course, I apologized. And I was (and am) truly sorry for what took place. But as much as I’m sorry, and as much as I’ve apologized, it hasn’t fixed the situation. It doesn’t change the facts of what took place. It doesn’t make things better. When I discussed the situation with my mother, the first thing she asked was if I apologized. And I told her that I had, but that didn’t mean that the situation was repaired.
While an apology can help facilitate healing, time has to run its course. And the party that has been wronged has to exercise forgiveness. In a process, the apology is on the beginning. And the apology must be genuine or else it’s worthless.
Although I’m genuinely sorry for what I’ve done and for the hurt I’ve caused, I now have to deal with the consequences. And while it’s painful, it’s the natural course. The bigger part is learning from my mistakes, and not making them again.
Until next time…
March 3, 2009 at 5:44 pm
I think sometimes people apologize out of habit and not real sorrow for what they’ve done. I think when you apologize for doing something wrong, the next step is to have a biting conscience not to try and do it again. It’s a growth process and if you (we) continue to make the same mistakes…U can’t blame anyone but yourself if the other party wont accept your apology. Kids learn that apologies get you off the hook but as grown adults we have to realize apologizing is a statement of I was wrong and I’ll try to become better.
Just my opinion. 🙂