Apology not accepted - FamilyEducation

Apology not accepted

March 06,2008
Skaddadle
Todd Lieman

At two-and-a-half, K-Man is already too politically correct. He’ll bump his knee, stub his toe, or ask for help to get his ladder (or any other toy) and he’ll apologize. “I hurt my knee. I’m sorry, Daddy.” Frankly, I find this a bit heartbreaking. I mean I’m a reasonably patient person (when it comes to the parenting thing, that is) and I certainly don’t make him apologize all the time (perhaps only when he was in that awful hitting phase). So, when he apologizes for things that don’t require it – I almost feel like he’s afraid of my reaction. I know that, like many of the things he says, K-Man doesn’t totally understand why he’s apologizing. He knows that he is supposed to say he’s sorry if he does something hurtful to someone or something (e.g., Harley). So, anytime something goes “wrong” – like banging into something – the synapse in his brain tell him he should apologize. It’s like, “That wasn’t right. I better say I’m sorry.” It’s a habit that needs to be broken. Anytime that K-Man apologizes inappropriately, G and I both try to explain to him why it wasn’t necessary. We talk about accidents and watch as K-Man’s eyes glaze over with a look of, “What the #$%&^% are you talking about? I’m two. I eat. I play. I poop. Yes, I know a bunch of words and have a basic conversation, but do you really think I understand what the hell you’re saying?” If the world is overly PC now – and I think it is – I can’t even imagine what K-Man is in for. Yes, if we’ve wronged someone, by all means, own up to it and apologize. (That’s the other half of this – nobody takes responsibility for their actions anymore, either.) But, I think we find ourselves apologizing for so many things that simply don’t call for a, “I’m sorry.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in some sort of conversation or debate and just because the person with who I’m speaking disagrees with me, he/she will feel the need to genuinely apologize. Don’t apologize for your beliefs. Don’t apologize for your feelings. And, certainly don’t apologize if you don’t really mean it. The funny thing is – a true, heartfelt apology goes a tremendously long way. People make mistakes. We do stupid things. When we own up to it, we’re usually forgiven. All of this fake, meaningless apologizing, however, has lowered the bar on the meaning of, “I’m sorry.” I don’t want K-Man growing up thinking that he has to apologize for all of his actions. How sad would that be? I want him to understand the power of an apology. Humility is a good thing when it’s true and appropriate. I wonder if we’re just going to keep getting more and more politically correct. The irony, of course, is the more “correct” we try to be, the less “correct” we actually are. What ends up happening is that the very same people who preach about having open minds and acceptance have no time or tolerance for anyone that doesn’t agree. (The ultimate irony, of course, is found in religion. Love thy neighbor – unless of course they don’t practice the same beliefs. In that case…maybe kill them.) So, K-Man, I don’t accept your apology. It’s just not necessary. In fact, little guy, I’m the one who is sorry. I’m sorry you hurt your knee. Really. I am.