“I did not enjoy going to church last Sunday” was the first sentence in an article entitled, “A painful apology to a kid at church” that I found on Fox News last week. Obviously the article caught my attention.
The author began by explaining that he had taken his three kids to church by himself because his wife was ill. He faced more than the usual struggles to get everyone to church, and while trying to find a parking place found himself thinking, “I shouldn’t have tried to come.” When he got there a half an hour late, almost on time for CCC I should probably note, he was asking himself, “Why am I even here?“
At the sign-in table he noticed a little girl clinging to her mother, afraid to go to Sunday School, and told his daughter to say hello. She responded, “I don’t want to.” He explained the importance of doing so, and said, “Do it!” She again responded, “ I don’t want to, Daddy.” He was determined to win the battle, so kept ordering her to do it until she had tears in her eyes. He then sent her off to class with a stranger she didn’t know.
During the worship service his baby needed a bottle, so he went to get it. As he passed his daughter’s class he saw her, and started feeling ashamed for what he had done. He knew he had to do something right then and there, so went into her classroom, knelt down beside her and whispered in her ear, “How did it make you feel when I forced you to talk to that little girl?” She responded, “Sad.” When she then acknowledged that he had indeed embarrassed her, her lip started quivering.
He picked her up, took her into the hallway, and with tears in his eyes, said, “I’m really sorry, will you forgive me?” She nodded, and he said, “I’m going to pray and ask God to forgive me too.” In his prayer he asked for forgiveness for being a bad father. She then whispered in his ear, “You’re not a bad father.”
Indeed he’s not. He did exactly what needed to be done.
Paul warned fathers about disciplining their children in ways that lead to unintended consequences. An apology for making a demand without considering the tone of voice used, or how it was received, doesn’t diminish authority. It only makes better fathers.
God Bless, Rick