I finally started receiving my subscription to Reader’s Digest (which I bought for free after credits at daily deal site Mamapedia), and the October issue has a fascinating and inspirational article about a man who wanted to apologize to his seventh-grade English teacher. I can’t find the article on the Reader’s Digest site, but it’s a reprint of this original article from The Oregonian.
Thirty-nine years ago, the student had abruptly withdrawn from the teacher’s class after he was teased harshly by other boys (the teacher was in the closet but gay, so you can imagine the direction the other boys’ taunts went). The student knew he must have hurt his teacher’s feelings, so he sought him out and eventually was able to apologize.
The article made me think about the person I would like to apologize to, and one person immediately came to mind. She was a nun – Sister C. – who visited my family when I was in high school. My mother was showing her around town, and I was as petulant and pouty as a teenager can be – in other words, I was the worst behaved spoiled brat you’d ever seen. What made it worse was that I knew better. I knew at the time that I was acting horribly, but even that didn’t stop me. (I mean, who’s rude to a nun?!)
After Sister C. had left us, I apologized to my mother for my behavior – obviously, I was quite the embarrassment to her. No doubt she had expressed her embarrassment to Sister C., and apologized on my behalf. I was quite stunned when she assured me Sister C. had already forgiven me, saying something to the effect of “kids are like that sometimes.” I have always been very hard on myself, so to be forgiven before I had even apologized made quite an impression on me.
Remembering Sister C.’s kindness and graciousness encourages me to be not just forgiving but kind and understanding. It’s something I ought to remember even more often – especially with my own children.
Who would you apologize to from your past?