So what should you do when you are a jerk and you realize it-
There are numerous stories that I can tell of when I am the jerk and need to apologize, but you hear enough about me, so today I am going to talk about my youngest daughter Louise.
Louise is a wonderful 7 year old who is loving and kind and sweet and generous, but also is very bold and straight forward. She will give you the shoes off of her feet on a rainy day, her hat scarf and gloves on a snowy day and her last bite of candy on Halloween night. She is naturally a giver (like my husband; and I have a lot to learn from them) But she also is blunt and speaks her mind (also like my husband)
So at Louise’s school they assign 5th grade buddies to every second grader and the 5th grade buddies read to them in class, and help them with work- It’s a great idea. But Louise goes into mute mode when she is uncomfortable around someone she does not know well and will refuse to speak. So all year long she has not said a word to her 5th grade buddy, just shakes her head, smiles or high fives her in the hall, but zero conversation. She told us yesterday night that at their last ice cream social today with their 5th grade buddies that she was going to finally say something to her- we were happy about that.
So today while they were eating banana splits, Louise asked her 5th grade buddy her name, and she replied “Tammy” Then Louise turned to her classmate Thelma and says “Tammy creeps me out!” And that was her one sentence in front of Tammy this year!
Is she kidding me? Nope she’s not!
Louise, who has been just giving Tammy wide eyed stares all year, finally said one sentence in front of her, one short, rude sentence. And so that you can picture this scene, Louis has some huge eyes that she opens even wider when she’s staring at someone she doesn’t want to talk to, I mean she’s adorable, but has eerily gigantic eyes- To give you an idea, her stair is sort of like that wide eyed marsupial pictured…. So go figure whom the real “creepy” one must be between Louise and her fifth grade buddy-
Needless to say I had a brief conversation with Louise about how we should treat people, especially those who are going out of their way to help us. I told her that we shouldn’t be mean to mean people either, but it takes a special kind of meanness to be mean to kind people. Now don’t get me wrong, although I do teach her kindness, when it comes to bullies, she has my full blessing when she puts the smack down on ’em and I think that the public should thank her for that. She is just giving a bully the spanking that his momma forgot to give him that morning; and when that bully is accepting his Nobel Piece Prize in 30 yrs., he will remember to thank Louise for beating the daylights out of him when he was in 2nd grade and teaching him the path that he should not go down.
…But I digress.
Louise said that after she saw the look on Tammy’s face and realized that she’d hurt her feelings, she felt terrible about it. I told her that the best that she can do now is to APOLOGIZE. I told her that we will all make mistakes and say mean things at times, but what’s important is to recognize it and APOLOGIZE. Simple as that.
Now some of us, like myself really beat ourselves up over verbal snafus. I mean we can really put ourselves in the WWE against ourselves and break chairs over our own heads then put ourselves in the car, hit the ejection seat button and then run ourselves over. But condemning yourself is counterproductive, you are still a good person, just APOLOGIZE- everyone makes mistakes.
And anyone who points their finger at you for making a mistake is making a mistake themselves in that moment.
Remember that wonderfuly generous heart that I told you Louise has? She still has it- dispite her mean remark. And now she gets to show that sweet heart of hers and APOLOGIZE.
So when you are a jerk, don’t sweat it- APOLOGIZE.
(Names were changed to protect the identity of the people in this story)