It is easy to teach a child their ABC’s, their colors, and their numbers. It’s not too hard to potty train, to teach them to keep their hands to themselves, to always say please and thank-you. But how do you teach a child compassion or remorse?
I don’t know the answer to that question, and yet somehow my daughter possesses both of those admirable qualities. If Leah gets in trouble for something, she gets truly sad. It is rare for her to ever get mad about being disciplined, but even if anger is her initial reaction she is able to calm down and feel badly about whatever is was that she did to land herself in trouble. She always says that she is sorry, I don’t even have to tell her to say it. And she means it. I can see it in her beautiful hazel eyes and I can hear the remorse in her voice. Along with her apology, she always gives a kiss and a hug, and often is very affectionate for the remainder of the day. Even for small things, or things that she is not really in trouble for, my daughter says she is sorry, and she does so quite stoically. She might simply knock something over, and she immediately picks it back up and says “I’m so sorry, mommy!”
Some times I feel bad that she is always sorry and I wonder if I have been too strict in the past. But when I think about it, there is nothing wrong with an apology. Whether an action was on purpose or not doesn’t really matter and my child will never be the kind of person who is stubborn or adds insult to injury by saying “But I didn’t mean it!”
Leah is also a very compassionate little girl. If someone is sad, she is quick to comfort them. She has, on occasion, seen me upset over something and she will put her arm around me and say “Don’t be sad, mommy.”
How did I get so lucky? These two concepts are something I had not even begun to think of teaching her, and yet she gets it. She is so in tune with the people around her and is sensitive to the feelings of others. I don’t know how my daughter came to be this way, but I can say that I am truly blessed and incredibly proud. She is turning out to be such an amazing little person.