On Saying Sorry

The Jewish high holy day of Yom Kippur was this yesterday. It's a hard one. We say sorry for all of the things we did wrong this year and admit to our wrongdoings and failures. In the afternoon we have the Yizkor, a memorial service for the mourning which is cathartic, but heartbreaking and sad. It's no secret that I've experienced loss this year, and this Yom Kippur was hard for me. But as I emerge from the year, I'm also looking at the lessons learned.
This year, it's important to say I'm sorry to my kids. I mean my son, but I also mean my students. I'm sorry to them when I'm having a hard day and my patience is wearing thin. I'm sorry when their feet don't move fast enough and I move them along. I'm sorry when I don't savor the minutes of laughter and snuggles. I'm sorry when I move away from the 19th hug of the day. (Although- sometimes this is at the end of the day, and that school bus doesn't wait!)
We teach our kids to say sorry all the time. You know the scene..."Bobby, give that ball back! Tell him you're sorry!". Your kid shouts a quick apology before running off to the next thing. But what does sorry really mean? It means that you are feeling empathy and distress for your wrongdoing, or for another person's feelings. It also means that you recognize that you were in the wrong, which is hard for kids, and harder for adults.  You're putting yourself in their shoes. It's a hard concept that we as adults don't fully understand, but often expect our kids to. We often make them apologize for things, but we should model that to them too. So to my son, I'm sorry that we don't get to spend as much time together. I really wish we could. I'm sorry that I get frustrated when you wont eat rather than just playing in the moment. I'm sorry that sometimes I am running late, so I push you to move faster. I'm sorry that I don't want to read the fourth book before bedtime. I'm sorry when I lose my patience.
Saying sorry, despite our pride, our self esteem, and our self-righteousness, lets our kids see that we can let our guards down and be vulnerable too. A new age of boys in particular are learning to show their emotions, which we should nurture and embrace. It also shows them that everyone makes mistakes. Even their perfect mamas who they look up to and idolize. So, this mama is going to try harder to apologize when I mess up.
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