Monday, August 30, 2010

Lessons From Preschoolers

Saying "I'm sorry" is really, really hard.

It's admitting that I am wrong.  And we know that never happens.  So instead of recognizing my fault and saying I'm sorry and moving on like a "mature" adult would do, I come up with every justification in the book.  "It's not technically my fault."  Or, "if he didn't do that, I wouldn't have done this."

But worse yet, most of the time I don't even see my own fault.  I'm completely blind to my culpability.  And when a small infraction becomes a mountain, when I see the writing on the wall, and I finally realize I am wrong and I have to say sorry, the words get stuck in my throat.

I have to cough them out.

It's so hard.

And it's not just me.  It's hard for Eloise too.  Today, Eloise and I had 2 instances when she needed to say sorry.  First, she threw a fit and hit me a couple of times.  After she calmed down, we talked about the problem, and I asked if she could say sorry for hitting me because it really hurt.

She said, "No.  I can't say sorry because it makes me too sad."

Wow.  How true.  It's so disappointing to be wrong.  It's devastates us.  We can't be wrong because then we're not perfect.  To admit imperfection is really sad for people like me.

Second, Eloise took a handful of vitamins, hid them in her hand and started to throw them in her mouth.  (She loves vitamins and it's really hard for her only to have one at a time.)  She threw a fit.  So I pulled her aside and explained again why we don't overeat vitamins.  I asked her to say sorry for doing it, and she said,

"I can say a silly sorry or a fancy sorry or a cute sorry."  She smiles and tries out all the different sorrys in her different voices.  She never could give me a real sorry.

Because it's so hard.

So I reminded her that the quicker she says it, the better she'll feel inside.  I remind her of this all the time.

And I hope going through these apologies with Eloise will help teach me to apologize more quickly and more fully in the future.  Because I don't know about you, but saying sorry is really hard for me.


catherine said...

Emily that is so true. I go through this all the time with my two. Reading this reminded me why they don't like saying sorry any more than I do.

Brooke said...

That's all my husband asks of me, is to sincerely apologize. He HATES it when I say this though, "I'm sorry IF I did that" OR "I'm sorry YOU feel that way" I've learned that those are not real apologies. :)