Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Tip of the Conversation

Favorite and I have friends who are raising four children--three little girls and a little boy.  They are great parents.  They expect their children to behave, hand out consequences when instructions aren't followed, but they don't shy away from life's realities.  This was abundantly obvious the day I witnessed the two older girls get into a calculated tripping match.

After my friend stopped the altercation, both girls, with no sense of remorse, said together, "Sorry."  My friend looked at both of them and said, "What do I say about sorry?"  Two little girls wouldn't even make eye contact as they answered in matching, sing-song voices, "Sometimes sorry isn't good enough."

Surely there's something worthwhile in the sense of mea culpa that comes with "I'm sorry," but, unfortunately, those words don't produce an eraser that "undoes" everything that has been done.  Frankly, I'm not even sure how we got to a place that allowed "I'm sorry" to be a catch-all that fixes everything.

"I'm sorry" was never meant to be the entire conversation--especially when the real apology likely wasn't going to come through conversation anyway.  "I'm sorry" was meant to be a jumping off point...a place to begin...a recognition of the work that was going to have to take place to make "I'm sorry" worthwhile.

I'm learning that.  (Sure, I'm 31 and I should've gotten this lesson back when I was 5, but I've established I'm the slow kid in class.  Don't judge me.)  It's one of those necessary lessons--you know, the one everyone tries to skip but ultimately cycles through again and again until, finally, something clicks.

"I'm sorry" is the beginning of a new normal--one that doesn't continue to spout meaningless nonsense to people who really need a little bit of change.  And I can't imagine who wouldn't be willing to live that normal.

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