Teaching children to apologize… and adults as well.

The ten days of repentance for Jewish people beginning with Rosh Hashanah will conclude with Yom Kippur also considered The Day of Atonement. For the Jains, Paryushan may be somewhat its equivalent… 8 days of atonement through penance and repentance… around August-September every year; in 2009 it ended with Samvatsari on 3rd September.

Reading Lisa Belkin’s piece today, I’m reminded about a little confrontation I had a year ago with a 14-year-old niece whom I was supposed to oversee [in addition to waking her up at 6 a.m. for school, making breakfast, packing lunch for school, 4 p.m. snack,  preparing dinner, doing the dishes, doing her laundry (provided she dropped her clothes off  in the laundry-basket)…] while her parents were traveling outside the country for over two weeks. When simply inquiring why she did not call  to say she’d be late after school one evening, she yelled back at me saying she’s an adult and that I needn’t be concerned or worried about her safety! At the time, I was taken aback by her sudden volatile outburst. I responded saying that no matter what she believed, until her parents returned, I was assigned a responsibility, and the least I expected was a quick phone-call simply to state that there was some unexpected delay in returning home for a specified reason. Well, on a long distance phone call the same evening, I felt I was admonished by her parents. They said that perhaps there was something amiss in their own upbringing of their kids. It was very tiring at the time and the entire episode seemed rather silly. I ached to return home – a thousand miles away!

“But in this rude and raucous age, apologies have become pro forma. People apologize not for being offensive (“I did something to hurt you, and I am sorry”) but rather because someone might have taken offense (“If your feelings were hurt, I am sorry.”)”… quoted from The New York Times.

To all whom I may have hurt, knowingly, or unknowingly, by words or deeds, or thoughts, I humbly say Michchhami Dukkadam.


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