We Are a Forgiving School

In the heart of Belfast, Northern Ireland, is a school that wants to live in such a way as to heal the wounds caused by misunderstanding and disrespect over the centuries.

Holy Family Primary School¬†proclaims, “We Are a Forgiving School.”

What does that proclamation mean?

Here are some examples:

The school principal, Mrs. Dinah MacManus, values the virtue of forgiveness and makes that explicit to teachers and parents.

The teachers commit to teaching a forgiveness curriculum for about one hour a week for about 12-15 weeks each year. The curriculum guides are from the International Forgiveness Institute.

The curricula use popular stories to engage the students as they see injustices in the stories and discuss how the characters forgive or could forgive and what the outcomes are. The students are then challenged to bring this learning into their own lives and families.

Teachers meet to mutually support one another as they learn from the innovations of the other teachers.

Forgiveness also can be one more addition to the discipline of a school. For example, suppose two boys are in a heated argument that could escalate into actual fighting. A teacher’s reminder that they know what forgiveness is can work wonders for quelling the battle. Because the students are being taught about forgiveness in the classroom, the adult intervening in the argument need not take a lot of time to explain the concept. They already know it and now it is time to apply it.

“We Are a Forgiving School.” Are there others anywhere in the world who would like to proclaim the same?

We are here to make that possible.

Dr. Bob

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Categories: Education, Our Forgiveness Blog


  1. Jake says:

    How cool is this? A forgiving school. Mine was a toe-the-line or else school. We need more of this.

  2. Bruce says:

    The New Age adherents would say that schools like this are duping the children because there really is no badness in the world, no injustices. If people come to the conclusion that there are no injustices, then they will come to another conclusion that there is no need to forgive. Yet, if there is no injustice then there is no need for the virtue of justice and so we can then set aside the quest for both justice and forgiveness. These two moral virtues disappear from the world. This seems to open the door to chaos. What Holy Family School is doing is morally correct. We need more schools like this.


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