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December 10, 2021 Friday 11:49:45 AM IST

To Forgive is Divine!

One day a father noticed his son hammering nails on his newly painted truck. In a fit of rage, the father hit hard on his son's hand with the hammer. The boy suffered from a crushed bone and was rushed to the hospital. His fingers had to be amputated and when he woke up he told his dad that he was sorry for his deed. The boy also asked “father when my fingers will grow back?” The father had nothing to say. His impulsive behavior crushed the little child’s dream. A simple act of forgiveness could have saved his son’s fingers. This simple story on the importance of forgiveness will move us into tears. 

As parents, it is important to instill the values of forgiveness and kindness in our children. A recent study suggests that teaching children to understand other people's perspectives could make it easier for them to learn how to forgive other people. The study also found that teaching children to make sincere apologies can help them receive forgiveness from others. Kelly Lynn Mulvey, lead author of the study and an associate professor of psychology at North Carolina State University conducted an in-depth interview with each child that collected background information and assessed the child's "theory of mind" skills.  Theory of mind is your ability to understand that someone else's beliefs, intentions, and desires are different from your own.

There were three main findings. First, children are more likely to forgive someone if they have apologized. Second, children are more likely to forgive people who are "in-group." Third, the more advanced a child's Theory of Mind skills is, the more likely they are to forgive others. The researchers identified two things that parents and teachers may want to focus on related to forgiveness. One is helping kids understand how important it is to apologize in a meaningful way. The second focus area is helping kids understand the perspectives of other people, even if they are different from you. The research concluded that helping young people develop these skills in childhood will aid them in navigating a diverse and complex world.