Monday, 24 November 2014

The value of Sorry?

A snip-it of conversation overheard on the bus set me thinking.

The father of Madeline/Matilda now has two children to escort on the morning and the addition of little brother has changed the dynamic.  I don't know who did what to who but the comment was..

"Sorry is not always enough, your actions are important. "

It set me thinking, of the situations when sorry is enough and when a phrase my friend taught her son when he began to think, as children often do, that sorry was a magic word that would excuse anything and everything.

"Don't say sorry, just don't do it!   

Anyway back to my mulling, someone steps on your toe, ouch and annoyance follow, nothing said by the stepie and both feelings continue even escalate.  However, a simple sorry and the reply of "its OK" pops forward with total honesty, annoyance dissipated even if the toe still knows it was stepped on.

Simple mistakes and an equally simple sorry in the early stage is enough however, without that first acknowledgement things can escalate till sorry is no longer enough.

For many actions true contrition is not in words but in deeds, cessation and reparation. Bus Dad's words can be taken two ways here, a sorry for deliberate actions has no value as it is not meant, rubs salt in the wound and is in no way suggestive that the offence won't be repeated, even indicating the opposite is probable.  Or sorry is of limited value if it is not accompanied by an act to put right what was being apologised for.

As we get into an ever more litigation fuelled society people are more reluctant to offer that first take the sting away sorry, lest it be a gateway to the compensation bandwagon.

Are we loosing the value of a heart felt sorry?

And did Bus Dad's sage words have a profound impact on his charges.  It was not evident as further complaining, whining and blaming followed from both children..ah well perhaps if he keeps at it!