Archive for May, 2021
The International Forgiveness Institute (IFI) has a variety of curriculums available for all grades from pre-k through 12th grade. Our most recent one is, The Courage to Forgive: Educating Elementary School Children About Forgiveness..
- For the basic description of this curriculum, check out this link: The Courage to Forgive.
- For the complete 15-page introduction that explains more about forgiveness education, this specific curriculum, why it is needed, and the benefits of forgiveness education, check out this link: The Courage to Forgive Introduction.
- To learn more about the IFI’s full range of teacher resources, check out this link: Curriculum Guides.
New, Just Published Curriculum Guide – THE COURAGE TO FORGIVE: EDUCATING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHILDREN ABOUT FORGIVENESS
Grade school educators, counselors, and homeschooling parents now have a new resource available to help teach their 4th and 5th grade students (ages 9-12) about forgiveness. Serving either as a Social-Emotional Learning or a Character-Education curriculum, the focus is on what forgiveness is, is not, what forgiveness looks like, and the basic concepts associated with forgiveness, including kindness, empathy, perspective-taking, and healthy expression of anger.
The Courage to Forgive: Educating Elementary School Children About Forgiveness uses children’s literature and incorporates the latest social-emotional learning (SEL) and character education principles into its 16-lessons. Each lesson in the 64-page guide is approximately 45-minutes in length and lessons include a variety of activities for students to complete, group and individual discussion questions to reflect on and answer, and even an opportunity for students to write their own book about forgiveness. One life-long teacher was so impressed after previewing the guide that she called it her “character education handbook.”
This new curriculum includes the model of forgiveness developed by Dr. Robert Enright, as well as techniques honed by Dr. Suzanne Freedman during her 2015 research with 5th grade students in a racially-diverse Midwestern school. Selected children’s books, such as, The Forgiveness Garden by Lauren Thompson, Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson and Let’s Talk about Race by Julius Lester are used to teach and illustrate forgiveness and related concepts. Book summaries and online videos of the books are included with the curriculum guide.
As stated by Dr. Freedman in the introduction to the curriculum, “It is hard for students to forgive if they don’t know about forgiveness or see examples of it. The children’s literature used in this curriculum illustrates what forgiveness looks like, what’s involved in forgiving and the impact of forgiveness for both the characters who do the forgiving and those who receive it.
“Helping students develop empathy toward others is a key strategy not only in character-building but in bullying prevention and intervention,” according to Dr. Freedman. “It is critical that we help kids develop empathy early in their lives and this curriculum guide is a great way to do that. Plus, the short sessions using children’s literature are fun for the kids so they are eager to learn.”
Although this curriculum was written specifically with 4th and 5th grade students in mind, it can be used with older (middle school students) or younger students, since activities can be modified as necessary. Even adults will find the curriculum helpful in their understanding and practice of forgiveness.
“SEL programs are being recognized as an important part of the school curriculum for all students,” Dr. Freedman adds. “In this guide, SEL is incorporated with Forgiveness Education in order to teach students how to recognize and express anger and other emotions in a healthy way, understand the perspective of others, and recognize the humanity in all.”
The following quote illustrates how one 5th grade student benefited from learning about forgiveness:
“I like forgiveness because it helps me learn how to forgive people. Before forgiveness I was mean and rude to people- I learned to forgive people. I had a lot of anger before but since you came here- I learned to control my anger and calm myself down!”
For more information about the curriculum, read the full 15-page introduction to the guide.
For more information about the research behind this curriculum guide, read The Impact of Using Children’s Literature to Teach 5th Graders about Forgiveness.
I have low self-esteem from being treated unfairly by someone in my family. What do you recommend I do to reverse this?
1) Stand with courage in the truth: “I was wronged.” If none of this is your fault, say that to yourself: “This is not my doing. I did not bring this on myself.”
2) Stand further in the truth: “Even though this person may have a bad view of me, I refuse to share that view of myself with this person.” Resist the lie.
3) As you stand in the truth, be aware of your strength in doing so: “I am enduring what I did not deserve. I am stronger than I thought.”
4) Commit to doing no harm to the one who harmed you. As you do that, reflect on who you are: “I am someone who can endure pain and not return pain to the other.”
5) Finally, conclude in the truth: “I will not be defined by the injustices against me. I am more than this. I am someone who endures pain and is a conduit for good to others.”
NOTE: This answer is reproduced from my Psychology Today blog: Why You Might Have Low Self-Esteem and How to Cure That.
Yes, this is possible. When treated unfairly by others, it is natural to have some anger because this is showing the other and you that you are a person of worth who should not be treated this way. If you continue to think about what happened, and if the anger starts to grow more deeply and pervasively, then you need an outlet for this development. Forgiving can be such a response. If, however, you do not have any outlet at all and continue with the rumination on what happened, then that anger can become so deep that over a period of time (perhaps many months) it develops into the unhealthy kind, leading to possible anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and even hatred toward the other. Forgiveness is an important antidote to all of this.
In forgiving, how can we balance self-care and dealing with continued verbal abuse from the person who just will not shut off that kind of abuse?
When you forgive, you do not have to stay in the situation and take continual abuse that is wearing you down. You may need to take some time out from the interaction. Please try to remember that to forgive is not the same as to reconcile. If the person continues the abuse, despite your best efforts to have it stopped, and if the abuse is wearing you down, then taking some time away from the interactions with the other is a good idea for self-care. When you forgive, you also should ask for fairness from those who are hurting you. Some will refuse, and this is why we need to distinguish forgiving and reconciling.