Friday, March 19, 2010

Forgive Mom & Dad Day

Friday, March 18, 2010

My calendar of observances tells me today is Forgive Mom & Dad Day. Now, depending on your mom and dad, you might be thinking:
  • No damn way. (or harsher words to that affect)
  • There's nothing to forgive; they did a good job.
  • I'm working on it...
  • What parents?
  • They did their best. I can live with that.
  • What mom?
  • What dad?
  • etc.
I certainly can't list all the wrongs a parent can commit. I know. I'm a parent. I had/have parents (one is still with us, while the other passed away many years ago.) I have taught and counselled parents, have loved ones who are parents, and have taught the children of parents. Parenting mistakes come in many, many forms.

Fortunately for the human race, so do parenting successes. Please be assured I do not say this from the viewpoint of someone who grew up in a functional, wondrous household. Quite the opposite, though we did also have some great times when I was a kid.

What I have come to believe about forgiveness is this:
  1. Forgiveness means acknowledging that someone made a mistake. Period. Nothing too esoteric about it, as far as I can tell. I searched for a long time to understand what forgiveness is, and this is the closest I've come. It works very well for me.
  2. I make mistakes all the time, and I'd rather not be condemned for them.
  3. I sometimes learn from my mistakes.
  4. I'm no different than anybody else. So if I can make mistakes and want to be forgiven and might learn from my mistakes...the same is true for every other person.
  5. Therefore, I can forgive another person.
  6. I do not want to walk around carrying blame and righteous indignation and resentment, so it's to my advantage to forgive.
That's how I see it now. It took decades, but I have forgiven my parents for being imperfect and for making some pretty big, painful, harmful mistakes, as well as a whole bunch of little ones. I'm also learning to forgive myself as a mom for my own load of errors. It all gets better if I let it.

What do you think of forgiveness? How does it operate, or not operate, in your life?

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