“An apology is a lovely perfume; it can transform the clumsiest moment into a gracious gift.”
Margaret Lee Runbeck
We all make mistakes. We are all human. The issue is not in making the mistake, it's the not owning and making amends for them that is problematic. I remember once becoming bothered by the behaviors of students in my morning session. I did not appropriately deal with those students. Instead, I allowed the emotion and frustration to encumber my interaction with my afternoon student group. I was self-aware enough to realize what I was doing–-even while admonishing them for small infractions. After a night of self-reflection, I came back and apologized to the group of students for how I treated them the previous day. I recognized that they were undeserving of my wrath. I explained why I did it, and openly acknowledged that it was not an excuse for my behavior. The collective reaction was priceless. Their eyes were as big as flying saucers and they expressed surprise that an adult would apologize to them! The next thing that happened blew my mind and cemented the power of affirmation. In addition to telling me how much they loved and appreciated me, they began to repeat affirmations referencing the ability to have bad days and recover. That apology meant the world to them and that lesson stays with me all of these years later. If we require children to apologize to others for misdeeds, then we should require no less of ourselves.
I shared this classroom experience with a colleague and her response was, "You apologized to them? Oh, no, no, no.” My response was, "Oh, yes, yes, yes." Why is it so difficult for us to apologize? Why do we think that because we are adults, we don't have to apologize to children? That is a flawed premise that I've seen play out over and over. Children are still people with emotions and feelings. If we make a mistake, whether it is directed toward a little person or a big person, it is imperative that we make amends whenever it is possible to do so.
Do not be hindered by pride or the supposed appearance of being weak in the eyes of your students. The ability to hold yourself accountable actually builds you up and gives you more credibility with your students. Don't be afraid of your humanness. Instead, embrace it as you empower your students to do the same.
Question to Consider:
Who will you apologize to today?
Adrienne Whitner is an educator, poet, Buisness owner, and author. She holds degrees in Political Science, Masters in Education and a Juris Doctorate(law). She is the proud mother of a beautiful daughter, a one year old grandson.
After experiencing several tragic incidents, arson fire and home invasion, Adrienne made it her life's mission to make a positive difference in the world. Her goal is not to save or rescue anybody, but give people knowledge of their own power and how to access it. Although she holds many degrees, Adrienne is also self taught. She has spent countless hours voraciously reading and studying everything pertaining to self development and growth.
Her depth of knowledge and myriad of experiences allows her to assist others on their path to self discovery and betterment.