They say that wisdom comes “out of the mouths of babes.” One blogger recently experienced that for herself from her 3-year-old daughter, who gave her a surprising crash course in forgiveness.
Mary Katherine Blackstrom often shares photos and stories about her family on her social media pages. But her most recent story went viral for all the best reasons.
In her post, she shared how her 3-year-old daughter, Holland, had had a terrible night.
In typical toddler fashion, she was fighting her mother tooth and nail and Blackstrom had reached her limit. Feeling like she was at her wits’ end, she told Holland that she was done fighting with her. It was time to go to sleep.
She was surprised when Holland sat up in bed and roared, “I FORGIVE YOU!”
Blackstrom had never expected to hear those words from her daughter, much less in that tone.
She shared that Holland said the phrase as though she was spitting out curse words. The little girl was still furious. So Blackstrom, curious, asked her if she understood what forgiveness was.
That’s when Holland summarized her feelings in one simple sentence that has since sent the internet reeling.
“’It means you were wrong, and I’m tired of being mad, and now I’m going to sleep and my heart won’t have a tummy ache,” she said.
Blackstrom said the experience was humbling and thought-provoking for her. It reminded her of the ways that she needed to forgive her daughter, too.
“I think children are able to speak profound truths because they address complex emotions in simple ways,” she said. “As adults, we complicate our approach to conflict. We could learn a lot from toddlers who express their frustration, hug it out, forgive, and move on. It would certainly save us a few ‘heart tummy aches.'”
Holland hit upon something that’s hard for many adults to grasp.
Forgiveness is a complex and psychological phenomenon. For most of us, it takes many years to learn how to do it.
Although once she becomes an adult, Holland will have to learn how to move past much bigger hurts than a fight about stuffed animals. However, she’s already grasped a concept that many adults struggle to understand.
In fact, Holland got pretty darn close to the psychological definition of forgiveness, which is defined as acknowledging pain and wrongdoing while also deciding to move past it for the sake of healing.
“It makes me happy when heartwarming stories go viral,” said Blackstrom, “because I think it’s a shared slice of humanity that everyone is finding in common. And in this case, the innocence and profound wisdom that at times comes from the mouths of children.”
Holland understood that forgiving someone doesn’t mean not being angry or saying what they did was okay.
She was still angry at her mom. But she also knew they both needed to move on from their fight so they could rest and feel better.
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