Education

On the Vital Importance of Forgiveness Education

From the pen of Patrick Wells, producer, director, video journalist:

“Formal Forgiveness Education, invented by Robert Enright, is the best idea the Human Race has had since Jesus preached Forgiveness.”

Many people on the planet continue to exist within a tribe, sect, gang, race or mentality, unable to overcome hatred or prejudice against another group. This frequently manifests itself as violence. Learning how to forgive may be the best and fastest way to end systemic negativity against “other peoples.”

The best opportunity we have is to treat forgiveness as a skill and teach it at an early age in our elementary schools. If we can convince our children of the power and importance of forgiveness, when they become adults they will certainly be able to make effective use of this vital skill.

Peace Symbol
“Forgiveness has the potential to transform our communities that have not known peace for decades and reshape our world.”

FIRST PUBLISHED IN WASHINGTONPOST.COM, 2010. READ THE FULL ARTICLE: EMBRACING FORGIVENESS EDUCATION TO RESHAPE OUR WORLD.”

M.S.

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Why Our Anti-Bullying Forgiveness Program Matters

“Bullying will not be tolerated in this school.”

“You are entering a no bullying zone.”

Consciousness raising is good precisely because it challenges each of us to be our best self, to do good for others.

Yet, sometimes some students are so emotionally wounded that their anger overwhelms the attempt at consciousness raising.  The students are so very wounded that they cannot listen well.  Some are so wounded that they refuse to listen.  Even others are so mortally wounded that they find a certain pleasure in inflicting pain on others.  It is when it gets to that point—others’ pain equals pleasure for the one inflicting it—that we have a stubborn problem on our hands.  No signs, no consciousness raising, no rally in the gym, no pressure to be good is going to work…..because the gravely wounded student is now beyond listening.

We all have a storyYet, we have found a hidden way to reverse the trend in those who are so hurting that they derive pain from hurting others.  It is this:  Ask the hurting students, those labeled so often as bullies, to tell their story of pain, their story of how others have abused them.  You will see this as the rule rather than the exception: Those who inflict pain over and over have stories of abuse toward them that would make you weep.  In fact, we have seen the weeping come from the one who has bullied others, the one who has inflicted serious pain onto others.  He wept because, as he put it, “No one ever asked me for my story before.”  His story was one of cruel child abuse from an alcoholic father who bruised him until he bled.  And no one ever asked him about this.  And so he struck out at others.  Once he told his story, he began to forgive his father and his pain lessened and thus his need to inflict pain on others slowly melted away.

This is what our Anti-Bullying Forgiveness Program does.  It aids counselors and teachers in bringing out the stories in the pain-inflictors so that their own pain dramatically decreases.  As this happens, through forgiveness, bullying behavior is rendered powerless……because in examining their own hurt they finally realize how much hurt they have inflicted…..and with their own emotional pain gone, they have no desire to live life like this any more.

Come, take our anti-bullying curriculum and save the life of at least one child and help prevent inflicted pain on countless others.

Robert

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The Delusions Leading to War and How Forgiveness Can Help

Whenever there is war, there are serious disagreements between or among those who fight. One kind of disagreement is the contradiction in which two sides cannot both be correct. One is right and the other wrong. Then we have as a second kind of disagreement, what we call contrary views. Here, it is not necessarily the case that one is correct and the other incorrect. Both may have a partial truth. Thus, both may bewar pointers wrong on some level and in different ways.

When groups insist that they are correct and morally right when this contradicts reality, and if this belief persists in the face of clear evidence against the position, we have a delusion. Delusions are part of the totality of war. Both sides can be wrong (in different ways) or just one side might be wrong and hold to a dangerous delusion that their own group is completely correct.

Forgiving others is one strong way of looking reality in the face and saying, “Yes, this person (or group) treated me (or our group) wrongly,” or “Now that I think about it, there is nothing to forgive because I cannot see how this person (or group) acted wrongly.”

Forgiving clearly is one way to break delusions that others deserve harsh treatment.

Forgiving clearly is one way to stop a war before it gets started if the aggressor can face his or her own delusions, see that others should not world kidsreceive that aggression, and therefore stop acting on the delusion and aggression.

We need forgiveness in educational institutions when children are 4 years old.  Forgiveness education needs to be part of instruction through the end of high school.  Such education gives students the opportunity to grow up knowing how to look reality in the face, discern fair and unfair treatment, and stop the delusions, that can lead to war, before the aggression begins.

Robert

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A Supposedly Unsolvable Situation in the Middle East

I heard recently that a top peace negotiator was discouraged by the events in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine. He said that the divide between the two is “unsolvable.”

Having just spent two weeks in Israel, I am convinced that there is a solution to the entrenched political and spiritual warfare in the broken Middle East. It is not an immediate but instead a long-range solution requiring patience and much perseverance. It is this: education on family, school, and community levels regarding what forgiveness is, what it is not, how to practice it, and how to bring it alongside justice. Those so schooled, perhaps in the next several generations, very well may find the way to community peace. “Justice first” may never come.

Robert

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Why Forgiveness Education Matters

We have forgiveness education curriculum guides for teachers, parents, and school counselors in our Store. The guides show you, step-by-step, how to implement forgiveness education for about one hour Forgiveness Blocksa week or less to children as young as age 4 or as old as age 17. The medium for instructing students on forgiveness is through stories. We have summaries of these stories for your examination and use as you wish.

Our research shows that as students learn about forgiveness, they become less angry and can increase in academic achievement. After all, if someone is fuming internally, it is hard to pay attention to the regular school subjects.

Take a look below at what teachers in Milwaukee’s central-city are saying after teaching forgiveness for 12 to 15 weeks, about one hour a week:

Highlights of the evaluations (four-year averages) are as follows:

91% of the teachers found the forgiveness curriculum materials easy to use.

75% of the teachers observed that, school 5as a whole, the students decreased in anger as a result of learning about forgiveness.

• 78% of the teachers observed that the students increased in cooperation as a result of learning about forgiveness.

• 71% of the teachers observed that, as a whole, the students improved in their academic achievement as a result of learning about forgiveness.

• 91% of the teachers thought that they became a better overall instructor as a result of teaching the forgiveness curriculum.

• 93% of the teachers thought that they became a better person as a result of teaching the forgiveness curriculum.

• 84% of the teachers thought that their classrooms as a whole began to function better as a result of the forgiveness curriculum.

• 76% of the teachers thought that the school as a whole began to show improvement because of the forgiveness education program.

Robert

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