Tagged: “forgiving communities”

I think it is so important to foster forgiveness in families.  Children need to learn to forgive.  What advice can you give to parents for this?

Yes, I agree that it is of vital importance that this happen so that we can fortify children against the injustices that likely will occur when they are adults.  Knowing how to forgive can be a protection against the build-up of unhealthy anger.  Here is a link to one of my essays on the Psychology Today website that gives details on how a family can become a forgiving community:

Is Your Family a Forgiving Community?

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Is forgiveness the same thing in all cultures and times?

We talk about forgiveness as if it has universal meaning, but should we be talking about early 21st Century forgiveness in Western cultures, rather than a generic “forgiveness?” Should we presume that forgiveness is not the same everywhere and across all time of human history?

Although there are wide cultural and religious differences among the Hawaiian family ritual of Ho-O-Pono-Pono, the discipline of forgiveness in the Jewish customs of Yom Kipper, and the sacrament of Penance within Catholicism, this does not mean that each is dissimilar at the core. The behaviors manifested in these three kinds of forgiveness differ, but all three are concerned about confronting injustice with love. All three acknowledge that there is right and wrong; all three acknowledge resentment or some kind of moral response to wrong; and all three see forgiveness as a merciful response of goodness toward the offender(s). At their core, these three seemingly disparate cultures and/or religions share much in common.

Across time, we have ancient stories of forgiveness that do not differ from the present day. In Hebrew writings, there is Joseph forgiving his brothers, and we see an unconditional, merciful response to their injustices against him. In Christian scripture, there is the father of the prodigal son offering him acceptance and love in the face of injustice. In Muslim writings there is a parallel story to Joseph, also showing mercy in the face of wrongdoing. Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, and other ancient literature are more alike than different in describing what forgiveness is. The preserved meaning has not changed to this day.

Might we come across a culture that defines forgiveness very differently than those above? Might we come across a culture that condemns forgiveness as unnecessary or unimportant? Perhaps, but it seems just as likely to find a culture that de-values justice and honors cheating and lying and murder. No such culture to date has been found. While it is true that different cultures might give different examples of what constitutes a just action, all cultures honor just action.

Is forgiveness the same thing in all cultures and times? Despite wide cultural nuances, it appears to be so.

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The Road to a Healthier Life in Your Golden Years

Exercise, get adequate sleep, eat right, reduce stress — you’ve probably been told to do all of these things to manage your health. All those actions contribute to a healthy lifestyle, and failing to follow them could lead you down a path of health issues and serious medical conditions. The risk of health problems due to poor lifestyle choices is even greater when you’re older.

The International Forgiveness Institute wants you to thrive throughout your life.  If you’re a senior who hasn’t begun prioritizing your physical and mental health, here are some ways to get it under control.

Nourish Yourself

Photo Credit: Pexels

Eating healthy is not only important to keep your systems working smoothly, but according to Verywell Fit, it’s also important for weight management. Younger people might struggle to lose weight and stay thin, but older adults have different concerns.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explains that being underweight is unhealthy for seniors, and many seniors fall into this category. Conversely, obesity is not a good place to be either. To keep your health under control, stick to a diet that hits all of your caloric and nutritional needs. A healthy, well-fed body is at a lower risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, and kidney disease.

Sleep Well

Most adults under-sleep, but it’s also possible to over-sleep. Family Doctor notes it’s important to get the right amount of sleep, specifically between seven and eight hours per night. If you find yourself having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or staying awake, then it’s time to adjust your sleep patterns to get on a regular schedule. Ample sleep will bring you energy, mental clarity, better moods, and relaxation from the chaos of daily life.

Healthline suggests you should turn off your electronics at least an hour before bedtime, take a relaxing bath, read a book, and meditate for a few minutes. Make sure to avoid caffeine after lunch or chocolate close to bedtime. If you suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome or sleep apnea, be sure to get the problem treated by a doctor so you can finally rest at night.

Why You Should Start a Business Instead of Retiring

Retirement often seems like the last step after years of working but it usually leads to an unfulfilling and boring period of our lives. According to the AARP, many seniors are looking to entrepreneurship as a way to stay busy and motivate themselves in an exciting way.

There are plenty of reasons why seniors are starting new businesses too. Aside from the work being much more enjoyable than the typical 9 to 5 grind, it also lets us turn our hobbies into a career and create our own dream jobs.

And once you’ve decided to start your own business, the next step is just to get it off the ground and get going. After a basic plan is established and you learn how to start a business, all that’s left to do is start working your dream job and, who knows, maybe one day you’ll even be hiring employees!

Stress Less

Stress doesn’t show obvious signs like some medical conditions, but it can lead to serious complications if you let it get out of control. Besides leading to depression and anxiety, which the APA explains can result in poor quality of life, stress can actually cause death through cardiovascular disease. Reign in your stress by practicing meditation, developing hobbies that promote well-being, exercising, building relationships and community, and seeking help from a mental health professional when the stress feels like too much.

Get Outside

As we rely more and more on technology, we ultimately spend more time indoors. However, Psychology Today explains this isn’t healthy for us, either mentally or physically. So, whenever possible, spend some time in nature, whether that’s grabbing some new gear and hitting the trails or simply biking through a local park, hanging out in the sunshine and breathing plenty of fresh air can work wonders on your overall well-being.

Be Forgiving

Speaking of stress, when we hold on to resentment and anger, it builds up and eats away at us emotionally, contributing to our stress. Retirement is a time to enjoy the fruits of your labor and the life you’ve built. This is an especially good time to consider forgiveness. Whether it’s among family, friends or even forgiving yourself. Forgiveness allows you to let go of those pent up feelings holding you back from living your best life. And while forgiveness can feel like a challenge, when we learn to forgive, we are reinvesting in our loved ones and ourselves. For additional information on  forgiveness for senior citizens, check out more of this International Forgiveness Institute website.

Your senior years are the time to reclaim your body and your mind, to preserve them as long as possible, and to reverse the damage done over the years. You can’t age backward, but you can control your quality of life so that aging forward is a positive experience. Put your health and happiness first to make the most of your golden years.


This article was written for the International Forgiveness Institute by Jason Lewis, a certified personal trainer who became the primary caretaker for his mother following her surgery in 2002. As he helped her with her recovery, he realized there is a growing need for trainers who can assist seniors in their own homes and communities. With a degree in Health Science and Human Performance, Jason works with medical professionals and other personal trainers to create programs that are customized to the special health needs of those over the age of 65. Visit his website, packed with health information for seniors and their caregivers, at strongwell.org.

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Can your Forgiveness Education materials be modified for secular universities, which are looking at racial injustice, white supremacy, social justice?

Our Forgiveness Education programs are built for ages 4 through age 18. For university settings, I would recommend the following:

The video, The Power of Forgiveness, as a way to get people discussing forgiveness in the context of societal challenges.

Then you might consider small groups that read and discuss any of the following of my self-help forgiveness books:

Forgiveness Is a Choice (2001)

The Forgiving Life (2012). This is my most in-depth self-help book because it links forgiving to the moral virtue of agape love. This book is a Socratic dialogue between two women.

8 Keys to Forgiveness (2015)

Please keep in mind that some who advocate for social justice misunderstand the importance and beauty of forgiveness, thinking it is a way of caving in to injustice. This is not what forgiveness is. Yet, if a person misunderstands forgiveness in this way, it may lead to a rejection of forgiveness because of this misunderstanding of its true meaning.

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2020: A Year We Will Always Remember

Do you remember 2019, the year before last year? It was a year plagued by worldwide unrest, hurricanes, and societal conflicts. When it mercifully sputtered to its end, people sang and drank and danced happily on its grave, assured that 2020 surely would be a much better year.

For a few months, it was. But then, thanks primarily to what was first labeled a “miniscule coronavirus” discovered in a far-away land, 2020 turned out to be much worse for many millions of people around the world. It was one of the most challenging years in modern history—a year to forget, but one we will always remember.

Yet, as a forgiveness researcher and co-founder of the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI), I am proud to report that despite its many challenges, 2020 turned out to be our most productive year ever since I began studying forgiveness three decades ago.

HERE ARE JUST A FEW OF OUR NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS FOR 2020:

1) We completed and had published 11 significant scientific research projects. I was able to team up with a different group of uniquely-qualified specialists for each of those projects. Covering a wide range of cultural diversity, and encompassing studies in seven countries with both adult and child participants, those studies included:

  • Development and implementation of a totally new forgiveness tool—The Enright Group Forgiveness Inventory–that has important implications for world peace. As part of that project, we tested the tool in China, Taiwan, Slovenia, and the U.S. It will soon be available on the IFI website at no cost to researchers.
  • Completion of three “peace education initiatives” in China, Iran, and the U.S. that are designed to inspire and engage educators, students, and community leaders. I continue projects like these because I genuinely believe that forgiveness is the missing piece to the peace puzzle and that the IFI must continue its mission of “Healing Hearts, Building Peace.”
  • Seven other projects documenting how Forgiveness Therapy can positively impact the homeless and those in prison, help prevent bullying (Spain), assist female acid attack victims in Pakistan (a significant social issue there), and others.
    + See all the 2020 IFI Research Projects +

2) As recognition and adoption of our Forgiveness Therapy interventions grows, I was able to develop and deliver more than a dozen targeted forgiveness presentations in the U.S. as well as in Scotland (Edinburgh), Northern Ireland (Belfast), and Slovakia (Bratislava) during 2020. Audiences included cancer treatment specialists, pediatricians, oncologists, and other medical specialists; prison maximum security staff and inmates; school administrators and teachers; and university faculty, research associates, and students.
+ See the full list of 2020 Forgiveness Presentations +

3) Responding to frequent requests from national and international news reporters, I was able to complete media interviews, podcasts and video productions in Spain, Germany, Italy, Israel, Canada and a variety of U.S. locations. One of those podcasts—hosted and broadcast by Dr. Alexandra Miller, a popular family relations psychologist—was downloaded by individuals in 225 US cities and 22 foreign countries in just the first three weeks after it was recorded.
+ See the entire list of 2020 Media Engagements +

4) In addition to all that activity, I managed to continue our promotion of the immeasurable benefits of forgiveness and Forgiveness Therapy by:

Yes, 2020 was a ground-breaking, record-setting year for the science of forgiveness, for the International Forgiveness Institute and for me personally. At the same time, the pandemic has helped us realize that life is too short to be unhappy. Living in the moment matters. Being there for the people you love matters. And it gives us the chance to add to our Unfolding Love Story.

There is one sure way to get rid of your unhappiness: Make this year the one when you learn to forgive. If you live a forgiving life, I guarantee it will be a happier and healthier life.

Robert

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VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR RESEARCH PROJECT

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