Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Four Parts to an Apology

Grumpy Cat by XXspiritwolf2000XX at Deviant Art

I have been cranky with everyone around me the past few days.  I don't know if it is hormones, lack of sleep, lack of chocolate, or just some other source that I need to get to the root of but I have needed to apologize to my husband and my children this week.  We all have days and moments when we are on edge, and that is okay, but it is not alright to be short with those around us.  Have you had similar moments this past week?  Are there people that you need to apologize to?  Join me in swallowing my pride and offer a real apology.  What do I mean by a real apology... well, I am so glad you asked.

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and they have said something/done something that required an apology and you received one of these:
  • "Well, I'm sorry, but..."
  • "I'm sorry for whatever I did."
  • "Mistakes were made."
  • "If I upset you, I am sorry."
None of these apologies brings restoration to the relationship nor do they restore dignity to the person who was offended.

There should be four parts in an apology.

1. First you need to acknowledge the offense.  We are so good at saying "sorry" and leaving it at that.  One thing I have been teaching my children (and myself) is to say "sorry for (fill in the blank)".  For me I had to tell my children "sorry that Mommy was grumpy with you this morning."

2. Offer an explanation. It is far too easy to say "I'm sorry I was a grumpy."  It helps restore a relationship if you say why you were  grumpy so the other person knows that you are truly sorry for what you said/did (or did not say/do).
Using my previous example... I needed to tell the kids why I was grumpy, which is difficult since I do not even know why I was edgy.  However, I needed to let them know it was not their fault.
"Sorry that Mommy was grumpy with you this morning.  I love you both very much. Sometimes I do not sleep well and I wake up cranky or sometimes I am just grumpy and I do not know why. I want you to know that I am not grumpy with you guys... I am grumpy at myself."

3. Express remorse.  Once we have acknowledged the offense and have given an explanation the next step is to let the person know that you truly are repentant.  This morning after explaining to the boys why I was grumpy I said " So Mommy is very sorry for being upset.  That was not the right way to act and I did not speak to you in a loving way."  I then hugged the boys and proceeded to step four.

4. Offering reparation.  When something is broken we tend to fix it.  When we commit a wrong unto someone we cause a break in the relationship and it must be fixed.  Step number four  in apologizing is to make amends.  With the boys, after I hugged them, I asked their forgiveness, which they gave and then we snuggled for a while before continuing on with our day. I also asked God's forgiveness and asked Him for his guidance as I continue on this parenting adventure.

  There are many times as a parent, friend, co-worker, daughter, sister, relative, etc. where we are going to fail those we have a relationship with.  Are you going to allow those relationships to remain broken or will you restore them with a healthy apology?

May you be blessed as you restore a right relationship with those around you today.

With love,
Dawna

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