Have you ever seen a celebrity apologize for something horrible? Sometimes they look more like a five year old being forced to apologize to a sibling! Or have you ever experienced someone who “apologizes” by saying “I’m sorry if I did anything that made you mad.”? Really? Apologies are meant to begin repairing relationships, but most apologies do more harm to the relationship than good.
Jacob, oddly enough, was one of the better examples of a great apology we have in the Bible. If you remember, Jacob had tricked Esau into giving up his birthright and then tricked Isaac into giving him Esau’s blessing. I would imagine there was quite a bit of bad blood when they parted ways. Years later, Jacob decided it was time to apologize.
If you read the entire story in Genesis (chapters 32-33), you will see Jacob didn’t just say “Sorry” and kick the dirt like a petulant five year old. He didn’t say “I apologize if I did anything to make you mad.” (Seriously, you don’t know what you did to make Esau mad?) Instead, he had a multi part apology that took several days to execute. Yet in the end, it restored their relationship.
So what did Jacob do to apologize? (Note: Gary Chapman does a great job in describing the languages of apology which gave me the idea for this post. Read the review for his newest book on Friday!) What do you need to teach your children about a great apology?
If your children can speak, you probably realize they consider you and anyone else close to your age “old”. I laugh now, because I will talk to friends from home and they will mention someone is “getting older”. In my memory, that person had to be at least in their 60’s or 70’s when I was a child. Inevitably, I will ask “What?! Isn’t she over 100 by now?” Usually, I realize the “old” person had actually been only in their 30’s or 40’s when I was little!
There is something about being young that makes it seem as if anyone older than your peer group is ancient. An arrogance develops as children age. By the time they reach college, many young people have dismissed anyone over the age of 30 as out-of-touch and unable to teach them anything valuable.
If your children appear to be developing that attitude or you find yourself thinking the same things about people ten or more years older than you, it’s time to be proactive in changing those attitudes.
One of my favorite things about fall is the apple. We live about an hour or so away from an area full of apple orchards. It’s a nice little break from the city to drive up and pick fresh apples on a crisp autumn morning. After bringing them home, our kitchen smells great while the apple butter simmers on the stove all day. Whether or not you have apple orchards near you, you can use apples with your kids to point them towards God.
In Teaching Kids How to Make Friends, I shared how lonely this current generation of young people appears to be. This loneliness is leading to all sorts of serious problems including depression, suicide and substance abuse. Many children are thrust into environments with only one or two adults supervising ten to thirty children for most of their waking hours from birth until adulthood.
Some of those adults are wonderful, talented people who are doing their very best, but it’s almost impossible for a teacher to parent your child. Especially when they are also parenting the children of ten and sometimes many more other families. Sadly, most teachers really aren’t talented enough to do more than the minimum academic teaching they are required to do, much less add in things like teaching kids how to make godly friends.
This is one post series I never thought I would have to write. I remember having friends throughout my life. Some relationships were stronger and healthier than others perhaps, but I don’t remember particularly struggling to meet people and become friends with good, kind girls and guys.
Maybe it’s technology, maybe it’s because most children today are left to their own devices with little adult supervision or real interaction the vast majority of the time or maybe it’s because they are over scheduled, but today’s children have lost the art of making real friends.
They struggle to meet new people. They aren’t sure how to change an acquaintance into a friend. They aren’t sure how to have a meaningful conversation with each other when they are together. They lack the self-confidence to be true to their core beliefs and walk away from friendships that are unhealthy. They have plenty of Facebook friends and hundreds of followers on Instagram, but have no one to share their problems and concerns with they can trust. They are lonely and alone.