After a kid infraction of most any variety, we require an apology from the offender. (A real apology. Not a mumbled-under-your-breath-just-because-Mommy-made-me-do-this sort of apology.)
Someone is always apologizing for something at our house.
Recently, after one such incident, followed by a mostly sincerely apology, the offended party refused to be consoled.
"'I'm sorry' doesn't change anything!" the still wounded child shouted.
But I think maybe she was wrong.
I think it changes a lot.
When one of my darling offspring spills a drink for the seventeenth time that morning and actually speaks the words, "I'm sorry Mommy for spilling that drink. May I help you clean it up?" something is changed.
My heart is softened.
Your "I'm sorry" changes me.
Because, at first, although my brain tells me the spill was just an accident, I just want to let my anger win. I am tired of cleaning up messes.
But the spoken apology pulls me back to see the bigger picture. The example I would like to be. Your "I'm sorry" reminds me that I want you to learn how to be forgiving and gentle in spirit so I had better figure how to model that behavior myself. Your "I'm sorry" reminds me that you are four (or six or two or thirty-five) and you deserve the same grace I want you to show me the next time I have to say "I'm sorry". (Which will probably be soon.)
So, sweet child o' mine. I'm sorry, but I think you are wrong.
"I'm sorry" changes everything.