Saying I'm Sorry Isn't Enough

The other day, Logan asked me nonchalantly, “Have you seen the Daniel Tiger episode about apologizing?” I looked at him like he was crazy. A television episode for Valentine is my golden opportunity for a shower/doing dishes/Insta scan/quiet time. It’s got so that as soon as I queue up an episode on Netflix, Valentine just says, “Bye, Mom.” (Seriously.) Logan, on the other hand, turns on the TV for Valentine and then sits down beside her and watches it with her. (Crazy.)

Anyway, I told Logan I hadn’t watched that episode, and he just said, “You should.” 

Once I found the time to snuggle next to Valentine on the couch, here’s what I saw :: Daniel Tiger and his friend Prince Wednesday are making mud pies, but then decide that to really put the pies over the top, they should use Wednesday’s older brother’s crown as embellishment. Naturally, the crown gets very dirty and once discovered, the older brother is really upset. Both Daniel and Wednesday apologize, but Prince Tuesday is still mad and doesn’t want to play with them. That’s when the premise for the episode arises ::

Saying “I’m sorry” is the first step. Then “How can I help?”

After Wednesday and Daniel apologize, they then help clean off Tuesday’s crown, and afterwards Tuesday feels much better. Good enough to make mud pies with them.

The concept is so simple, but I honestly had never thought of it before. We’re just trained to say, “I’m sorry” if we do something wrong, regardless of whether or not we feel remorse. And if someone is apologizing to us, we’re trained to immediately say “I forgive you” or “It’s ok”, even if we still feel upset. It just makes so much more sense that an apology is not enough. You have to combine apology with restitution for there to be a true step towards making amends. You see this concept all throughout the Mosaic Law, in the justice of God, even in the Cross. Saying “I’m sorry” is not enough.

Logan and I have talked about this concept a lot since watching that episode for the first time. Now, it’s become a part of what we do in our home. We’ve training Valentine to think this way, but we also do it with each other. Whether I eat the last of Logan’s chips or he absentmindedly cuts me off mid-sentence, or even after much graver offenses, we start by apologizing, but then ask, “How can I help?”

What do you think? Do you agree that an apology isn’t enough? Is this a concept you’re familiar with? How has it helped mend relationships after an offense?

(Top photo by the Parsons; bottom photo from my friend Kristi)

Posted by Aanna on Friday, December 5th, 2014

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