We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. (One) who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. — Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
IN TODAY'S SESSION... the children talked about forgiveness. Forgiveness is an action surrounded by love, both in forgiving and being forgiven, and the family is where forgiveness is first learned. Forgiveness is under-represented in the media; five- and six-year-olds may be more familiar with revenge, winning, and "I'm better" attitudes. The UU second Principle (We believe all people should be treated fairly) brings us the venue to discuss forgiveness. The group heard the Hebrew scripture story about Joseph forgiving his brothers. They talked about how difficult it is to forgive others. They played a game to practice saying "I forgive you."
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about...
- When is it hardest to forgive?
- Why is it so hard to say, "I'm sorry"?
- How does it feel when your brother or sister does something unfair and does not say they are sorry?
- Who can hurt you more, strangers or people you are close to?
Share which you think is stronger, love or unfairness.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Write the word FORGIVENESS across the top of piece of paper. Work together to think of places where forgiveness needs to happen, one place for each letter. Start with F for FAMILY.
A Family Adventure. Visit a history museum. Read the stories aloud and talk about situations that might need forgiveness.
Family Discovery. Books about fairness for preschool and early elementary children include Being Fair by Cassie Mayer (Heinemann Educational Books, 2007); Zapizapu Crosses the Sea: A Story About Being Fair by Diane Abad Vergara (Trafford Publishing, 2007); Ser Justo/Being Fair (Spanish) by Robin Nelson (Lerner Group, 2005); Thank You God!: A Jewish Child's Book of Prayers by Judyth Groner (Kar-Ben Publishing , 2003); Let's Talk About Being Fair: An Early Social Skills Book by Joy Wilt Berry (Gold Star Publishing, 2000).
Children in upper elementary grades can read Being Fair: A Book About Fairness by Mary Small (Picture Window Books, 2006).
Family resources for parents to read include Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Journey to Change the World... One Child at a Time by Sarah Thomson and Greg Mortenson (Puffin Books, 2009) and Once Upon a Time... Storytelling to Teach Character and Prevent Bullying by Elisa Davy Pearmain (Character Development Group, 2006). Also explore the audio CD, Free to Be ... a Family.
A Family Game. Forgive and Forget—a great family game using cards.
A Family Ritual. End the day by saying to one another, "Good rest, may you forgive everyone who hurt you today. May you feel the joy of forgiving."