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A quotation from Henri-Dominique Lacordaire, a 19th-century preacher, journalist and French politician, may help you think further about forgiveness:
Do you want to be happy for a moment? Then seek revenge.
Do you want to be happy forever? Then grant forgiveness.
Children's Stories about Forgiveness
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow Books, 1996). Lilly the mouse gets mad at her teacher and does a revengeful act. The teacher responds by lovingly demonstrating forgiveness.
Mr. Lincoln's Way by Patricia Polacco (Philomel Books, 2001). In this true story, a school principal named Mr. Lincoln helps a school bully who puts down other students and even the principal because of their race to appreciate that people of all races can live together by drawing on the boy's love for and knowledge of birds. A beautiful example of forgiveness and compassion.
My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Polacco (Aladdin, 1998). A little girl tries to be better than her big brother out of jealousy and he ends up helping her out of kindness.
"What if Nobody Forgave? The Story of Grudgeville" by Barbara Marshman in What if Nobody Forgave and Other Stories of Principle by Colleen M. McDonald (Boston: Skinner House Books, 2003).
Under the Lemon Moon by Edith Hope Fine (Lee & Low Books, Inc., 2002). Set in the Mexican countryside with Spanish words sprinkled throughout, this tale tells of a girl whose lemons are all stolen by a poor man who then sells them in the market. Using her resourcefulness and help from La Anciana, the girl heals her tree and the wounds of the crime with generosity and forgiveness.
Star Boy by Paul Goble (Aladdin, 1991). In this adapted Blackfoot Indian legend a boy bears a scar on his face given to him after his mother disobeyed the Sun and fell to earth. The boy travels to the Sun to seek forgiveness and healing and brings to his people the ceremony of the Sun Dance to give thanks for the Creator's Blessings.
Non-fiction Books about Forgiveness, for Children
Forgiveness by Lucia Raatma (Bridgestone Books, 2002). This book, part of a character education series written for children, describes many aspects of forgiveness including; asking for forgiveness, forgiving others including friends, family and strangers, expressing hurt feelings, and forgiving oneself.
Kids' Random Acts of Kindness by Conari Press (RedWheel/Weiser, 1994). This book of stories, by and for kids, that demonstrate acts of caring and kindness includes writing by Dawna Markova and Rosalynn Carter.
Caring by Robin Doak (Raintree, 2002). This book written for children has examples of types of caring including a short chapter on forgiveness. For each type of caring the author provides real life examples of things that people have done, including forgiveness.
Non-fiction Books about Forgiveness, for Adults
The Forgiveness Formula by Kathleen Griffin (Marlowe & Co., 2004)
Radical Forgiveness: A Bold Choice for a Peaceful Heart by Robin Casarjian (Bantam Books, 1992)
The Sacred Art of Forgiveness by Marcia Ford (Sky Light Paths Publishing, 2006). Adult.
Teachings on Love by Thich Nhat Han (Parallax Press, 1997)
Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance
The Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance is a non-denominational, international group that promotes forgiveness as a way to greater world peace. The site includes information about World Wide Forgiveness Day activities and awards famous and little known heroes of forgiveness. It tells the story of Kai Lee Harriot, a three-year-old girl who was paralyzed from the waist down by a bullet. When she was six years old, Kai Lee faced the shooter in court and told him that, "What you done to me was wrong, but I still forgive him." The site includes many other examples of forgiveness, and they call for submissions annually. The group also sponsors actions such as writing letters of forgiveness and student essay contests.
Art sand is available at most craft stories and from many online sources. A typical price may be $5 for a five-pound box of art sand.
Play sand is available at hardware stores and sporting goods stores.
Air-drying Modeling Clay
Available in small quantities at most arts and craft stores. You can order a 25-pound box online for $16.96 which includes shipping and Indiana sales tax.
The idea of having a basket of "fidget objects" available during session activities comes from Sally Patton, author, workshop leader and advocate for children with special needs. It is a simple, inexpensive way to include and welcome children who find it difficult to sit still or who learn better while moving.
Provide a basket for fidget objects. Fill it with pipe cleaners, koosh balls, and other soft, quiet, manipulable objects.
When you introduce the fidget object basket to the group, begin by saying that some people learn best when their hands are busy. Give an example such as someone who knits while listening to a radio program or doodles during a meeting or class. Point out the fidget object basket. Tell the children they may quietly help themselves to items they may wish to use to keep their hands busy if this helps them to listen. However, also tell the children that the fidget object basket will be put away if the items become a distraction from the story or any other group activity.
You can make the basket available for the duration of the session, or bring the basket out only during activities, such as hearing a story told, that require children to sit still and listen for a significant period of time.