This morning, my peaceful shower time was disrupted by a neighbor child’s loud cries, and a woman’s –most probably the child’s mother– yells. At first the woman’s shouts were in Chinese, which I don’t understand at all. I assume that she expressed why she was angry. But then, the woman starts yelling repeatedly, “Say sorry!” Instead of saying sorry, the child’s cries grow louder and louder. The woman was so persistent to get to hear that ‘sorry’ word from the child, she repeated the “Say sorry!” shouts probably more than 30 times.
I’m not a parent yet, but I think demanding a ‘sorry’ like that from my child is not the right thing to do. First of all, being (and saying) sorry should come from either feeling regret, or from feeling sad out of sympathy. Now, will shouts and yells like that help my child to understand that he/she should feel regret or sad after whatever he/she has done? Surely not.
If in the end the child finally says ‘sorry’, I’m quite sure that the reason is that he just wants the mother to stop yelling, instead of being regretful of making mistakes or hurting anyone. The child may grow up to be someone who misuses the word ‘sorry’ lacking regret or sympathy, won’t he?
Another lesson taken for my future parenthood :).
By the way, just recently Muslims all around the world celebrated the Eid al-Fitr festival. I’m lucky that this year I can finally celebrated it with my family, after being absent twice in the previous years. In Indonesia, on that particular day, there is a tradition to greet each other –friends-neighbors-family– with “mohon maaf lahir dan batin” which literally means “forgive me body and soul”. This is, in my opinion, also a misuse of ‘sorry’ :p. Why would I say sorry to people I am (almost) never in contact with? And why would I say sorry only on this day without any reason?
It is not a bad idea to use the occasion to ask for forgiveness from others about any mistake one might have done, but… I found that this is more appropriate:
It’s time to forget and also forgive others’ mistakes, to be able to move on happily in life without any grudge and burden :). Happy Eid Mubarak! Sorry it’s a bit late ;)