Archive for June, 2016
One of the paradoxes of forgiveness is that as we give mercy to those who showed no mercy to us, we are doing moral good. Another paradox is this: As we bear the pain of the injustice, that pain does not crush us but instead strengthens us and helps us to heal emotionally.
When we bear the pain of what happened to us, we are not absorbing depression or anger or anxiety. Instead we realize that we have been treated unfairly—-it did happen. We do not run from that and we do not try to hurriedly cast off the emotional pain that is now ours. We quietly live with that pain so that we do not toss it back to the one who hurt us (because we are having mercy on that person). We live with that pain so that we do not displace the anger onto others who were not even part of the injustice (our children or co-workers, for example).
When we bear the pain we begin to see that we are strong, stronger actually than the offense and original pain. We can stand with the pain and in so doing become conduits of good for others.
Today, let us acknowledge our pain and practice a paradox: Let us quietly bear that pain and then watch it lift.
A new forgiveness intervention manual for at-risk middle school and high school students is now available from the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI)—at no cost.
Forgiveness Over Revenge: Grief, Insight and Virtue through Education (F.O.R.G.I.V.E.) is a training manual intended to serve as an introduction to the topic of forgiveness, both for school counselors and adolescents. The manual is not meant to serve as a diagnostic or therapeutic tool. Instead, it may be used to introduce the topic of forgiveness and to provide hands-on experience practicing forgiveness-related thought processes and exercises.
Counselors who opt to use the F.O.R.G.I.V.E. manual are provided with ten lessons, each approximately one hour in length. In the first five, students learn the basics of forgiveness, both what it is and what it is not. The remaining five lessons focus on applying the process of forgiveness through targeted activities in a group setting. Instructors may use their observations over the course of the ten sessions to better understand youths’ relationship to forgiveness and to make possible referrals for more directed forgiveness therapy when
The new manual was developed, designed and written by Dayana Kupisk, a current graduate student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, who spent a semester studying forgiveness under the direction of Dr. Robert Enright, founder of the IFI. She additionally has experience facilitating life skills and employment training to groups of at-risk youth, which greatly informed her approach for translating research-based information on forgiveness into creative activities that may be done with groups of youth.
“This manual is intended for professional counselors with training to do group counseling with middle school and high school students,” according to Kupisk. “Since it contains therapeutic content, in which students focus on forgiving people who have hurt them, it is not for general classroom use, either by teachers or by counselors. Instead, this manual is intended for short-term group counseling with students who have been referred for treatment within the school setting.”
Kupisk said she wants the F.O.R.G.I.V.E. manual distributed to as many potential users as possible. To accomplish that, she decided to allow the IFI to add the manual to its growing compilation of forgiveness intervention manuals and curriculum guides and to offer it at no cost. The manual can be ordered through the IFI website Store.
The International Forgiveness Institute, based in Madison, WI, is the only worldwide organization that focuses exclusively on forgiveness education for students from pre-kindergarten through high school. The Institute’s school forgiveness programs are operating in the U.S. and 30 other countries.
I work in Taiwan and was wondering if you have done any work there and what cross-cultural difference you might see with the United States.
Yes, we have done research on forgiveness in Taiwan. Perhaps the most important difference is this: People in Taiwan seem to need an apology from the offending person before forgiving occurs. It is a matter of honor or saving face, I think. Also, we found that when people in Taiwan forgive, they tend, more than in the United States, to say that what happened is not a problem now. This does not mean that they are excusing or condoning. Instead, I think they are putting the incident behind them.
What is one important insight you can give me if I want to ask for forgiveness from someone I have hurt?
I would realize that he/she has a wounded heart and may need time to forgive. In other words, when you approach the person do not expect an immediate, “Yes, I forgive you.” So, you will need to be ready to wait.
What can one do in a school setting if parents are opposed to teachers teaching their children about forgiveness?
In our experience, we have not to date encountered this situation and we have worked with many teachers across the world. If it were to happen, I suggest that you explore, if the parents are willing, their assumptions about forgiveness education. Do the parents think that you are teaching the child a particular religion? Another issue you might consider is this: Are the parents angry about something or someone in their own life and so are opposed to they, themselves, forgiving? You do not want to become the parents’ therapist, of course, but being aware of their possible anger will at least be an insight for you. At some point, you could consider saying, “Sometimes people have been deeply hurt by others and so they do not want to forgive. They consider it too painful and they are not ready.” It then is up to the parents to take this and work with the insight or not.