I want to teach my 8-year-old child about forgiveness. I notice that you talk about the inter-relationship between forgiving and seeking fairness. Should I teach one of these moral virtues first (forgiveness first or justice first), or should I teach them at the same time?
The teaching of forgiveness already has embedded within it the theme of justice, particularly as the child sees story characters being treated unjustly and then forgiving. So, the child, in being introduced to forgiveness, is also examining justice. You can and should point this out; being fair with one another is very important; it is when justice breaks down that people get hurt and then need to forgive. A more complicated issue is this: Should you teach a child to forgive and to seek justice at the same time? The answer is yes. For example, if a child is being bullied by another child on the playground, the one being treated unjustly needs to protect the self by letting a teacher or the principal know of the injustice. Forgiving the one who was bullying also is a good idea, but only if the child is ready and is not pressured into it.