Growth Spurts: New Starts
It’s quite possible that I say this in every January issue, but it’s true. I love new starts! There is something so refreshing and inspiring about a new year, a new beginning. In fact, I love to think of each day as a new beginning. And on some days–the really hard days–I pretty much have to think of each hour as a new beginning.
Even when my kids were very young, I needed the fresh start of a new day. No matter how much I had screwed up, lost my temper, wanted to run away, etc., etc. that day, the hope of a new beginning tomorrow somehow helped me. My kids aren’t little anymore, but I still have plenty of days that I screw up, lose my temper, want to run away, etc., etc. And so do they. Therefore, fresh starts and new beginnings are super important for all of us.
But in order to have a new start, there first needs to be an ending–a finish–to the things that need to be put behind us. Things like those bad days, ugly words, mean spirits, lost tempers. We need to leave those in the past and not dwell there with them. And in order to truly move forward, we must apologize and ask for forgiveness whenever it is needed. In the same way, we must extend forgiveness to those who wronged us, so that they, too, can have their fresh start.
I think that both apologizing and offering forgiveness can sometimes be the hardest when it involves family members, don’t you? They are usually the people that we love the most, but maybe that means that they are also the people who can most deeply hurt us, too. And/Or maybe it’s that because we are so comfortable with them, we are more free in letting them see all sides of us, including the ugliest sides. I’m pretty sure I’ve apologized to my children more than I have to anyone else in the world. In some ways, that makes me sad, because it reminds me of how many times I have hurt them. But in other ways, it makes me kind-of glad, because it means that I am modeling to them how to apologize and ask for forgiveness. And they are seeing (as if they didn’t already) that Mom is far from perfect. Hopefully, it also encourages them to humble themselves and do the same when it is needed.
Family should be the hub of forgiveness. We should be the safe training ground for learning to apologize and forgive. Our homes should be filled with fresh starts and new beginnings. Because if our spouses and children can’t count on love and forgiveness within the family, then they will not be very likely to apologize to or forgive people outside of the family. This is a very big deal, and it must start at home.
Our world seems to be filled with division, anger, hatred, and blame. Let’s do our part, parents, to raise a generation of peacemakers. Humility and a desire for reconciliation are qualities that can be taught. If these virtues are not something that you’ve been working to instill in your children already, then start now. After all, it’s a new year–a new beginning–a fresh start! Out with the old; in with thenew! Happy 2018 to all of us!
Carrie Bevell Partridge is thankful for the love and forgiveness that she continually receives from her husband and five children.