Teaching Students About Forgiveness

Forgiving others is an important part of being a healthy person. Forgiving others is also difficult. As teachers, we have opportunities to help our students with this, so here are some tips for discussion.

  1. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. Students often think they have to feel like forgiving someone or they think they haven’t really forgiven someone because they don’t feel like it. We can help them understand that forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling.
  2. Forgiveness is for us more than for the person we forgive. If we don’t forgive, we hold onto the anger and become controlled by it. Forgiving others is the way to let go of the anger and to get back control of our feelings and behaviour.
  3. Forgiveness is not a one time event. Even when we forgive, the memory will come up again and we will be angry again. We need to forgive every time the memory comes. This way, we train our minds and bodies to let go of the anger.
  4. Forgiveness works best when we’re honest with ourselves. When we admit how deeply we were hurt, we forgive that person for all of it, and are able to let go of the hurt. When we only admit we were hurt a bit, the part that we didn’t admit still has power to make us angry at any time.
  5. Forgiveness does not mean the person is free to hurt us again. Boundaries are still needed in order to prevent future hurts.

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