We are always teaching our children something. We may teach explicitly through lectures, demonstrations, or having them help with a chore. Most often, though, we teach through example. Kids are always watching… and learning.
What better way to teach them how and when to ask for or grant forgiveness than by example?
Asking a child to forgive you when you have offended them teaches three important lessons.
1. Parents aren’t perfect (and neither are children). Most of us try to always be the best parent we can but sometimes we just blow it. At that point we have two choices: excuse and rationalize away our inappropriate behavior (teaching the child that it is never okay to be wrong) or admit our mistakes. What kind of adult do you want your child to be: one who can’t admit a mistake or one who takes responsibility for her actions?
2. Restoring or repairing relationships is a vital life skill. Every child – every human being – need to know that relationships need attention and care. And, that there will come a time when he needs to take action to repair and restore a relationship. Quality-of-life is directly tied to the health of relationships. Having forgiveness modeled for him is the best way to teach your child how to maintain quality relationships with others.
3. Humility is a valuable part of a godly character. It’s not easy to ask forgiveness. Pride must be set aside. Humility teaches children about the value of others, empathy, and respect.
Recognizing our parental shortcomings and asking a child is difficult (asking a teen to forgive you is just plain hard). But our children won’t become the kind of men and women we want them to be unless they see us set aside pride, humble ourselves, and repair relationships.