This is Part II of my “I’m sorry” posts. If you haven’t read Part I you can read it here.
My two boys were not angels – in fact they bordered on little devils most of the time. They were high spirited, inquisitive and often naughty little boys. They got into mischief (alot of it), they were cheeky (often) and they didn’t always listen to me (rarely). Consequently they ended up being sent to their rooms (alot). The Super Nanny wasn’t invented when they were little and the phrase “naughty chair or corner” had not yet been coined. It was still an old fashioned time back in the 90’s!
Whilst they were in their rooms paying their penance, I doubted very much that they were thinking about what they had done. They were usually playing with their toys, or, as they sometimes did, they fell asleep lying on their beds. I used to try and talk (ok lecture) them, but keeping the attention of a 7 and an 8 year old was next to impossible. I like to give really long lectures and repeat myself at least 3 times. It is a mandatory mum thing and it is not rivetting listening for anyone. It used to end up messy because I would get cranky all over again when they weren’t listening to me. They have since given me advice on my lecturing skills and have told me on many occasions how much of their life I wasted with my long lectures. Sometimes kids can be so ungrateful!
One day I decided that when they were sent to their room they were going to write me a “sorry” letter. The letter would address the reason they were in their room, how they felt about it and how they would show the other person they were sorry. I really wasn’t sure how it was going to work, but I felt it would at the very least give them an opportunity to reflect on their actions. Something I don’t think they were doing when just being sent to their room to do whatever they liked.
I believe that if you don’t actually think about what you’ve done and how it affected someone else it is very hard to be truly sorry. It is also very hard to ask a 7 and 8 year old boy to reflect on such things. That is unless you get them to write. Now this wasn’t easy to start with. They complained and whined, but once they realised they weren’t coming out until they wrote me a letter, they soon started writing.
At times I felt they wrote words they knew I wanted to hear and I’m not sure how genuine their meaning was. However, regardless of this, I believe it still gave them cause to think. They learnt to write down their feelings. They learnt to write letters with loving words in them. This has truly made them better at expressing their feelings. They give me wonderful birthday cards now with really heartfelt words in them. I have shared a couple of their sorry letters below along with two lovely birthday card messages.
Maybe some of you already do this with your children? I really believe it helped my boys to get in touch with their inner feelings and it taught them how to share them with the people they love. It didn’t really help with spelling though. I never corrected their spelling mistakes. I felt this would spoil the sentiment. Plus now when I look back I love some of the cute spelling errors.
If you click on the letters they will open in another window and be easier to read. I hope you think they are as cute as I do. I’m so glad I kept most of the things they wrote me. It was such a wonderful experience reading back through them all over this weekend. There was a tear or two shed.
Below are the two birthday messages they gave me last year. I always get a tear or two.
Mr 18 & me & my many chins