I was scrolling through the verses and sayings I have pinned on Pinterest for an idea of the next painting I wanted to make. I came across this one, and although I didn't choose it to paint, not today at least. But I did feel it.
Each week, in school, we have a character trait of the week. This week's is forgiving. Now, out of all the traits I think this one might be the hardest. When I talk with my class I give them a lot of insight into me. I tell them about not being a good reader in school. I tell them about what it was like for me in school. I even told them that sometimes the "mistakes" I make are on purpose, but most the time it's an honest mistake. This week I told them about how kids treated me in school and how it was hard to forgive them.
We act like forgiveness is easy, but since we've all had opportunities to do it, we know that it isn't. I think it's hardest when the person we need to forgive is someone who made us feel badly about ourselves. When someone chooses to put me down for things outside of my control, it is hard to forgive. When someone treats me like I'm not worthy, it is hard to forgive. When someone acts like they are better than me and do it by putting me down, it is hard to forgive. Apologies are nice, but they don't erase the way someone made you feel. Insincere apologies are the worst. One reason I don't make students say they are sorry. I understand teaching children that they should apologize, but telling them to do so when they aren't then we are teaching them to lie. (Think on that for a minute.)
Lately, I've heard a lot of people saying things like "you are responsible for your own feelings". Although that is true, it seems that people say that mostly to excuse their behavior and the words they say.
I am responsible for the words I speak to others that make them feel badly. Sometimes I realize that my words hurt, but I know there are times that I don't. I can apologize when I do, but I do realize that the impact has already been made. I am responsible for what I do or don't do to people. Once again, if I know it was hurtful I can apologize. But I also know that there may be a long term effect on them.
As a teacher, I want each of my students to never forget how I made them feel. I have to be careful of my words, especially when they frustrate me. Yes, sometimes they frustrate me. :) I have to be conscience of my actions, that they speak loudly positive things to them. It is hard, but I had teachers who made me feel good about me and ones who made me feel less than. I feel it is important that they feel good from their time with me. I also feel it's important that they feel good from their interactions with each other. Therefor we talk about it whenever we need to.
Unfortunately, I know that it takes me a long time to feel better after someone makes me feel badly. Honestly, it brings up all sorts of feelings from the past. I told my students that when I need to forgive I tell myself, "I choose to forgive" until I truly know I have. I left off that I also say, "God, help me to forgive." That whole I-work-in-public-school thing kept me from adding that part.
Lately, I've been hit square in the face with people trying to make me feel badly about me, and it's sent me to reflecting on similar recent instances. Time and distance sometimes helps me to see much more clearly, than in the moment. I have a choice to make, either focus on how they made me feel or to learn from it and decide not to do the same to others.
I feel like this post was all over the place,must be because I'm out of practice, but it was meant to be about how people make me feel. But it jumped around about forgiveness and being aware of how I make other people feel. I hope that I make people feel better about themselves much more than I don't. I also hope is that when I do make others feel badly that I apologize and make them feel better the next time I interact with them.