With Mother’s Day upon us, I’ve done quite a bit of reflecting on the work I’ve put into this role I’ve had for the last 13 years. I have so many fond memories with my children, and can recall many of the hard lessons they’ve had to learn on the journey of life as well. They’ve also taught me some valuable lessons myself.
When it comes to forgiving others, I can honestly say that my children have been my teachers at least as much as I have been theirs. By nature, our children can more easily let go of anger and move on quickly after someone else has hurt them. When we are young, we do not have the mental faculties to ruminate over an unpleasant interaction or the memory capacity to keep past incidents in the forefront of our minds for years to come. As we age and our minds mature, we gain the tools to analyze and remember our experiences, but if we are not careful, they can get in our way when it comes to forgiving and letting go of the past. Forgiving does not mean forgetting, but it does provide freedom.
There was one time in particular that my daughter taught me the power of letting go. She was 3 years old when she asked me for a candy that she saw on a shelf and I told her “no.” Needless to say, she was not very happy about that answer. She threw a classic tantrum, crying and protesting the situation, which I am sure from her perspective was unfair and unkind. But then she did something interesting. Just a few moments later, she climbed into my lap and snuggled up against my chest.
My daughter’s reaction taught me two things. First, that it is possible to separate a situation from a person. She was upset at her circumstances, but she dropped her anger at me. Part of faith means believing that our lives are exactly as they are meant to be no matter who or what contributed to them.