Say, “I’m SORRY!”

So, I overheard a mother with her toddler, this afternoon.  The child had done something to offend her mother.  The mother, wanting to teach her daughter something, said, “You hurt my feelings.  Say, ‘I’m sorry’.”  The small girl refused to apologize, which made her mother angry.  “I said, ‘Say I’m sorry’.”  There was no high-pitched response.  “You say it or else.”  Still no response.  “One.  Two.  Three.”  One second pause and then, “Whaaaa!”  The mother had taken away her daughter’s prized possession.

Um… what lesson were we teaching here?

Was she trying to teach love and compassion?  How to show love and respect to another?

Or was she trying to teach her impressionable child that taking things away from others will help you get your way?  Or that if someone hurts you, you should hurt them back?

Don’t get me wrong – I am far from the perfect parent.  When my kids were that little, I shudder to think of the things I did to them.  I’ve learned a few things along the way.  I should be a pretty darned good parent about the time my kids graduate – college.

I would like to think that I’ve taught by example for the most part.  I’ve tried to avoid corporal punishment, whenever possible.  I try to teach with love.  I fall short, more often than I’d like.  But I try.  Maybe I shouldn’t judge the mother I overheard today.  Maybe she was having an off day.  After all, nobody’s perfect.

Can I treat others at least as well as I treat my children?  Granted, I love them unconditionally (even though I don’t always like them), but couldn’t I love another human as much as I love them?  If I were to get into a romantic relationship, can I enter it with love, compassion, and respect?  Or would fear and anger overpower everything else?

Thinking about it – staying single is so much easier!

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