Forgiveness: “Groundbreaking Scientific Discovery”

A cutting-edge organization in California that sponsors groundbreaking scientific discoveries has launched a new service called Greater Good in Action and added forgiveness to its list of practices that can help you improve your social or emotional well-being or the well-being of others including your children.

The Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) at the University of California, Berkeley, not only studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being but also “teaches skills that foster a happier life and a more compassionate society–the science of a meaningful life.”

The Greater Good in Action initiative adds forgiveness to its list of established practices that include compassion, generosity, gratitude, honesty and others. It is a new addition to a service the organization began in July of 2017, called Raising Caring, Courageous Kids that is designed to help parents raise kids of high character who treat others with compassion and respect.

In its inaugural forgiveness practice called Introducing Kids to Forgiveness, Greater Good in Action cites the pioneering forgiveness work of psychologist Robert Enright, Ph.D., and psychiatrist Richard Fitzgibbons, M.D. (co-authors of Forgiveness Therapy, a manual providing instructions for clinicians who want to incorporate forgiveness interventions into their therapy with clients.

Referencing Dr. Enright’s years of hands-on experience teaching children about forgiveness (he has developed 17 Forgiveness Curriculum Guides for kids in pre-school through 12th grade that are being used in more than 30 countries around the world), Greater Good in Action links readers to a separate dissertation on Dr. Enright’s insights into how to help children and adolescents learn and practice forgiveness.

That work concludes that “a wide range of studies have found that forgiveness programs can help kids of different ages feel better, strengthen their relationships, and improve their academic performance.”

Because conflict is inevitable, teaching children about forgiveness early on
may indeed be a path toward building communities
of people who prize and cultivate peace.

Maryam Abdullah, Ph.D., Parenting Program Director at Greater Good
and a developmental psychologist with expertise in parent-child relationships.

The practices provided by Greater Good in Action are for anyone who wants to improve his or her social and emotional well-being, or the well-being of others, but doesn’t necessarily have the time or money to invest in a formal program.   Through its free online magazine Greater Good, the GGSC provides articles, videos, exercises, quizzes, podcasts, workshops and more for parents and families to help them foster positive attributes like forgiveness in themselves and their children.

How Forgiving Are You?
When someone does you wrong, are you more likely to turn the other cheek or slash their tires? Take the Greater Good Forgiveness Quiz to find out.

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  1. Charles says:

    I took the forgiveness quiz and did think of the one person who has hurt me more than any other. I have forgiven them but I have also cut them off from access to my life. This is because they have not changed their ways and would hurt me and my family if they had access. This action isn’t taken out of unforgiveness but out of necessity however, the quiz seems to indicate I am only moderately forgiving. I disagree with the quiz. I know you have talked about this before but isn’t there at times the action of avoidance necessary?

    • directorifi says:


      Thank you for your comment.

      You’re absolutely correct that there are times when avoidance is the appropriate response following forgiveness. That’s why Dr. Enright is careful to explain the distinction between forgiveness and reconciliation in his books and other printed material. An Ask Dr. Forgiveness question and answer from December 5 is a good example: click here.

      I think your disagreement with the quiz summary is appropriate as well. Those kinds of quizzes are necessarily quite generic so for someone like you who has an advanced understanding of forgiveness and its components it may not provide a completely accurate interpretation of your responses or your willingness to forgive but not necessarily reconcile.
      Thanks, again, Charles. We appreciate having you as one of our readers.


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