Friday, September 19, 2014

I'm Sorry

I believe that there are divine signs and leading.  As  I was working on a separate post, a notification from Seth Godin's blog popped up.  Go ahead and click on it and read it.  It will take you 1 minute...I'll wait.

I had this idea sitting in my post page waiting for the right time.  That notification and quick read told me it was time to complete this thought.  Now, add to that my image search, I come across the image to the right and  this post.  Click on that and read.  It's another 2-3 minute read...I'll wait.

I won't hide from it, this post, like others, comes from a recent experience from which I'm still learning and reflecting.  In our work and in life in general, there are times when "I'm sorry" is hard and there are times when "I'm sorry" is a little less hard.  Mr. Patterson covers the nature of apologies very well in his post and Mr. Godin has got the great thoughts on the anatomy of an apology.  I want to focus on the some vocabulary.

I've heard my fair share of apologies, whether on the giving end, receiving end or otherwise, and my greatest observation is the words that come across directly after.

  • Too many times, and it makes me sad, I hear "I'm sorry you...".  If I can be so bold to say, this is not an apology at all and a manipulation of the situation.  Yes, "I'm sorry" is in there, but just in the structure of the language, the focus is no longer on you and what you are sorry for, but the focus is now on the action of another.  This is a defense mechanism and a clear indication that you're not ready to make the apology, because there is no ownership in the language.
  • In work with students in discipline situation on the restorative end is the language I teach is "I'm sorry for...".  Then there comes those lovely times when I (& we as adults) get to decide to heed my own teaching.  "I'm sorry for..." indicates acknowledgement of the situation and the desire to mend relationship.
I may have a stubborn streak in me, so apologies never come easy (do they for anyone?).  But if we prioritize relationship, as we should, as a key factor in student success, we must become better at apologies.  The word comfortable was the first word that came to mind, but I'm not sure that apologies are anything we may ever get more comfortable with, but we sure can get better at them.  The good of our school community requires and deserves relationships that can be mended for the good of our students!



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