Learning To Say “I’m Sorry”

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Yesterday, I watched my kindergartener and a carpool buddy battle it out in the backseat of my truck. I couldn’t help but struggle to keep my eyes on the road while diligently listening to the conversation going on in my third back row.  Not the kindest of words were being used.

I let the argument try to work itself out until finally I had to turn down the music and interfere, asking for explanations and apologies.

One of the things that’s been so important to me with my son is trying to get him to be responsible for his actions and getting him to apologize when he’s not acting properly.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, he’s divinely stubborn and in that moment, he just couldn’t get to the place of “sorry.”

I saw the look in his buddy’s eyes, eagerly waiting and wanting them to make up. I was so, so, sad watching my son, who was stuck in his own way.  I also had empathy and heartache for this little guy, who loves his best buddy so much.  All he wanted was to hear those simple yet powerful words – “I’m sorry.”

He didn’t get them.

When we got to school and got out of the car, I pulled my son aside to talk to him. I wanted him to know that not only can words hurt, but sometimes the lack of words can hurt too – His friend was patiently waiting, a guest in our car, for an opportunity to feel better, or an effort at least to make up, and he didn’t get it.

I asked him to think about that and to make it right. I think my son understood – he gave his buddy a hug, mumbled the words “I’m sorry” under his breath and before I knew it they were walking hand in hand into kindergarten. It’s something we don’t see very often with two little boys, displaying affection openly and physically sticking together.

I loved this scene but what I loved most about it was the fact that kids don’t hold onto stuff. While they often get stuck in their own ways, they’re quick to let it go and move on. A fight that lasted only as long as a car ride was dropped in two minutes and they were besties again by the time the school bell rang.

Later that night my son came home to share some stories from his day. I love this because I don’t get information very often. He asked if he could tell me some secrets. I was so excited and felt so special knowing that he finally had something to share with me that he didn’t take to his father first. Damn it, he’s a papa’s boy so I take anything I can get.

He told me that he has a diary at school where he writes his secret stuff and asked me if he could share some of his entries. I promised him secrecy so I can’t tell you what he said, but I love that he has the opportunity to express himself and an outlet to share his feelings. I think it’s brilliant, that my child is being taught at the tender age of five, to express his feelings.  Then he asked me if we could have a diary together.

I’ve always kept one with my daughters – the mother/daughter journal that I’ve blogged about quite a bit. It’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever received and I’ve given it to many special mommy friends.

But I’m so excited to go out today and buy a special book that I’ll hide in a sacred place for mine and my son’s eyes only. I think it’s an incredible opportunity for us to connect and confide in each other and share our innermost feelings. Memories like these are precious and the shared time together is so special to me.

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