Forgiveness, the 5 year old way

My little one had his usual playdate with his best friend, T, today.  Rarely do they fight, so when he came crying to me about a harsh remark T made, I was surprised.  Such things are monumental at 5 and the thought of never having another playdate was THE END.  I know it sounds funny, but I don’t think we grown ups are all that different.  Our feelings get hurt just as bad, we just don’t say it outloud as much.

Upon spending a few minutes on options on how to handle this situation, my son settled on returning to the scene of the discretion, own up to his part of the disagreement, tell T why his feelings got hurt and apologize.  For a moment, that brought on a new flood of tears and the declaration that “he won’t ever forgive me!”  I am no longer astonished by the depth of my son’s vocabulary, but now struck with the notion that his prediliction for playing out the scenerio where he will lose out or get his feelings hurt is all too familiar.  Again, thought this was an adoption thing on my end, but maybe not.

Is the idea that we foresee the future as doom and gloom, if we concede we were wrong, the reason so few of us ask for forgiveness?  I promised myself that I would not be so stubborn with my boys.  I want them to see that grown ups make mistakes and lose it and can own it and ask for repentence.  To undo a way of being parented and do it differently is a daily challenge for me.  It is gratifying to see that my kids respond differently.  There is less fear and the moment doesn’t linger and persevere.

This moment today made me think about all the hundreds of adoptees I have talked to.  Too often, I hear them talk about how hard it was to talk to their parents about their hurt feelings, their experiences with racism, their struggle to figure out who they are, and their thoughts about their birthparents.  Oftentimes, it is to protect their parents from feeling the same hurt.  But it is also the sense that it isn’t safe to talk about it.  “If my mom/dad had just once said they didn’t know, or they don’t get it, the doors of that conversation would open wide up.”  How many times I have heard that one?  It is the rare parent who admits to ignorance and says they are sorry.  Instead, I get to see the adopted person fold inward and apologize for not being more grateful, not being more accepting, not saying it just right.  I wonder if we more of us were allowed to play those scenerios outloud we might live less in fear.  Shedding light on some of those doom and gloom ideas might make them less scary.  Instead so many of us carry the guilt of not being perfect, afraid to ask for help, scared to forgive and be forgiven.

The tiff between G and T ended as quickly as it began.  I was really proud of them both for handlng it so beautifully.  They really are great friends with a whole lot of time and trust under their belt to have a squabble and let it pass.  Yet another lesson on how it should be done by the babes in my life.

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