Monday, October 8, 2018

COMPELLED: Week 5 - Forgiving

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I think that we can all agree that learning anything will be fraught with mistakes. Having a growth mindset accepts and understands that "failure" is part of the learning and growing process. Forgiveness of one's self and others is what I call the backbone of growth mindset. When forgiveness is front and center, risk-taking becomes a central part of a classroom or school culture, as well as one's own personal mission statement.

What exactly is forgiveness?

Let's start with what it's not. I love how The Good Men Project states this.
Defining forgiveness through the back door:
--To forgive does NOT mean that you condone wrongdoing. 
--Reaching a place of true forgiveness is NOT about you deciding that what someone did is okay if it was not. 
--Forgiving does NOT mean you have to forget 

Forgiveness lives in the present and the future. Forgiveness lets go of the past, knowing that the past can't be changed. Forgiveness is a choice that we all make, and before we can choose to forgive others, we must choose to forgive ourselves. 

Don’t wait to forgive until you feel like forgiving; you will never get there. Feelings take time to heal after the choice to forgive is made. 
―Neil Anderson


It can be easier to write about or think about forgiveness than to actually do it. 
It's a hard, courageous choice, but one worth it in the end. 

Brene Brown states in her book, Rising Strong:
"Forgiveness is so difficult because it involves death and grief.  I had been looking for patterns in people extending generosity and love, but not in people feeling grief.  At that moment it struck me:  Given the dark fears we feel when we experience loss, nothing is more generous and loving than the willingness to embrace grief in order to forgive.  To be forgiven is to be loved."

Forgiving our students and our colleagues is a powerful means to becoming a better educator. Here are seven ways to become a better forgiver (from an infographic on my "Forgiveness" Pinterest board)

     1. Don't wait for an apology

     2. Practice giving the benefit of the doubt

     3. Be clear and kind about why you are hurt

     4. Remember you are on the same team

     5. Accept an apology when it is offered

     6. Don't dig up buried offenses

     7. Consider extending your own olive branch

What's been your experience with forgiveness as an educator? I would love to hear your story in the comments below or via social media - Twitter or Facebook


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