How to Pass Forgiveness to the Next Generation: Forming Forgiving Communities, Part 2

In Part 1 we began to define the dimensions of what a Family as Forgiving Community is. We continue the discussion with some practical advice that we call the Family Forgiveness Gathering.

Family Forgiveness Gathering

The parents are encouraged to create a time and place for family discussions. We recommend that the parents gather the family together at least once a week to have a quiet discussion about forgiveness. They are to keep in mind that to forgive is not the same as excusing or forgetting or even reconciling and that forgiveness works hand-in-hand with justice.

Questions for the family forgiveness meeting might include:

– What does it mean to forgive someone?
– Who was particularly kind and loving to you this week?
– What did that feel like?
– When the person was really loving toward you, what were your thoughts about the person?
– When the person was really loving, how did you behave toward that person?
– Was anyone particularly unfair or mean to you this week?
– What did it feel like when you were treated in a mean way?
– What were your thoughts?
– Did you try to forgive the person for being unfair to you?
– What does forgiveness feel like?
– What are your thoughts when you forgive?
– What are your thoughts specifically toward the one who acted unfairly to you when you forgive him or her?
– How did you behave toward the person once you forgave?
– If you have not yet forgiven, what is a first step in forgiving him or her? (Make a decision to be kind, commit to forgiving, begin in a small way to see that the person is in fact a person of worth.)

The parents are reminded that they do not have to know all the answers.


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  1. Brian says:

    This would not seem to take too much effort. I can do this and I hope other can do so as well.

  2. Samantha says:

    Good point, Brian. I have been practicing this for a while now based on Professor Enright’s earlier mention of this in The Forgiving Life.

  3. Adhas says:

    The family is at the heart of all societies. Forgiveness in the home should strengthen the family. This in turn should strengthen societies.

  4. Chris says:

    I would think that something this simple, if done for 10 minutes a week over years, would make a significant difference in the lives of family members. Thanks for the suggestion.


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