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The new year is about new beginnings. But how can we make new beginnings if we have not made peace with the past? To start a new chapter in out lives, we must be able to forgive and forget the bitterness and mistakes of the past. And that is the positive lesson I learned at the end of the last year from an otherwise unfortunate experience.
My older daughter is fairly cautious. It is just her nature. She will always look around and carefully check for cars before she steps out of the building entrance. She always asks if any water is drinking water before she drinks it. She even asks for permission to eat junk food beyond the usual limits because she knows that junk food is not healthy.
As cautious as she is, she is still a child. And children do naughty things sometimes. It wouldn't be normal if they did not. She was playing on her sister's rocking chair at home and standing on the end meant to rest the back. She had been told several times not to do that because...
This time it happened. She flew off the chair and landed on the floor with a thump! She was less than a foot above the ground and has fallen a several times from much higher places with no significant injuries. Yet this time luck was not on her side. She fell at a bad angle and split her chin.
The gaping wound was unsightly. The flesh was torn apart. I was terribly upset when I saw it and obviously not thinking at all, because my first response, instead of comforting her was, “Why did you do that? I have told you not to stand on the back of the chair?” But even before the all the words were out of my mouth I was terribly ashamed of myself and I gave her a hug. I cuddled her and told her that as bad as it seemed it was a common injury and would soon be fine.
In half an hour we were in the pediatricians office and my baby was trying to be brave, as soft sniffles escaped her control. The doctor tried to glue her chin back together, but the cut was too deep and it had to be stitched!
The next 5 days seemed to last forever, but finally, the stitches came off. And then I did something incredibly stupid. The evening the stitches were out there was a cotton piece taped on to protect the scar. The pediatrician said we could take it off in a little while.
But my daughter wanted it to stay, so I told her I would re-dress the wound after she brushed her teeth. It had been 5 days since we had done that because we were not supposed to wet the dressing.
Then I used concentrated Savlon on the cotton and taped it on. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Now I know. I had always knows concentrated Savlon was bad for the eyes but somehow I did not realize it was so damaging to skin in prolonged contact. My daughter soon fell asleep and did not notice how much the Savlon hurt her.
The next day my daughter's chin was red and sore. My poor baby had already suffered 5 days while the stitches healed and now I had prolonged her suffering. It took a week to heal the new wound. I was sorry beyond measure and miserable and I apologized to her several times. But each time her cheerful response was “It's okay mama. What's done is done. Don't worry about it. It will be fine soon.” And she really meant it. She bore me no ill will for hurting her.
I was so amazed the first time she said it. I told her how impressed I was with her. She never once complained about the damage I did to her chin to me or anyone else. She truly forgave me so graciously. It made me feel even more ashamed of my thoughtless reaction to when she had fallen.
Children can be so beautiful on the inside. We have so much to learn from them. I told my daughter how much I valued her forgiveness and that she had taught me how much more important it is to be forgiving, than it is, to be right. It is a lesson I will now remember. What better way to begin the new year than with positive lessons learned from experiences shared with my daughter. What better lesson for a new beginning than learning to forgive graciously.
We often poison our lives with vengeance and vindictiveness and waiting for the chance to say I told you so. We sometimes blurt out those cruel words when the child needs our love and sympathy instead of our judgement. Kids do not have the background of experience to really understand when we warn them against the perils of certain activities. So we need to let them learn from experiences and be there for them when things go wrong. Learning is important, but so is compassion. I am going to try much harder to fight the reflex tendency to say I told you so in times of stress.
Parent child relationships can be ruined, if one cant over come their pride and shortsightedness, to forgive wholeheartedly.
However, if we can eliminate the poison, we can truly embrace the joys, life and relationships have to offer. I hope my daughter will always continue to be this forgiving.
So this new year #KhulJayeBachpan with a heart brimming with forgiveness.