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Try A Little Forgiveness

My three-year-old has a wonderful vocabulary. She uses words like “actually” and “embarrassed.” However, she doesn’t yet fully understand the word “embarrassed” (which she learned from Grover in The Monster at the End of this Book). After showering the other night, she told me her feet were embarrassed. I saw that they were wrinkly from being in there for a while, but I’m not exactly sure how “wrinkly” turned into “embarrassed.” We tried to explain to her that it means “feeling silly,” but this has proven to me that “embarrassed” is a meaningless concept to a three-year-old. Zamirah goes way beyond silly, but she won’t feel embarrassed for a while. She is perfectly at home in herself, no matter what she does. Our opinions barely register with her. She accepts and forgives herself completely.

“Forgive” is another word she has yet to learn. This is not because she doesn’t forgive, but because the concept has no relevance to her--she cannot not forgive. And neither can her little sister. Zamirah pushed Zaaryn off her tricycle one day, and Zaaryn cried for a few seconds of course, but she got back up, and before you know it they were laughing and playing together. This event, while profound to me, would not even qualify as memorable to either of them, because forgiveness is all they know. If I get yelled at, it is likely that I will fester about it for at least a little while, and at best consciously decide to not take it personally. If I lose my temper and yell at Zamirah because she insists on cleaning the sink with her toothbrush, she might tell me I’m being mean, but it’s matter of fact and has no bearing on her love for me.

So here are my 3 rules for forgiveness that even a 1-year-old could teach us. Although really he or she would be reminding us, not teaching, as we once knew this ourselves:

1. Don’t take things personally.

2. Events that happened in the past, even if “the past” is 2 minutes ago, don’t usually matter that much.

3. Our connections with each other are vastly more important than our imperfections and mistakes.

I hope you found this worth reading, and if not: I hope you will forgive me.

 

What have your kids been teaching you? What did you teach your parents? Feel free to leave a comment!

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