There are times in a parents life when they are called upon to say the words sorry. But answer me this, Why is it so hard for us to admit it when we are wrong and to just say sorry, especially when it is a parent saying sorry to a child?
As a child I was taught that when you do something wrong you need to say sorry. But when I think about it now, I hardly ever heard my parents or any other Samoan parents say sorry to their children. Especially when it was the parents that seemed to be in the wrong. How many times have you been yelled at for something you didn’t do just to never hear your parents say sorry? How many of you grew up with alcoholic fathers just to never hear them say sorry for waking you up at 3am to make them something to eat after they have had a long night in the pub? How many times did you have to go without lunch because your parents were too busy trying to look good in front of the congregation and give your shopping money for lafoga? Did they ever say sorry?
I recall one time when my cousin was getting a hiding for something that she did not do and she tried to tell her father that it wasn’t her that did it but he was so enraged that he kept at it until I dropped myself on top of my cousin and begged him to stop. I told him that it could not have been her that took money out of his wallet because we had just gotten home from school and that when we arrived we walked straight to her room when we got home, but ehhhh you know, your typical Samoan father, stood his ground and said “No, I know was her, your cousin naughty and take all da time my money”.
Well it turned out that, it was his own wife that took money out of his wallet to pay for their phone bill. After finding out that it wasn’t his daughter, all the man could say was “Aoga sa fo’i le fa’alogata o lenei teinetiti ua ta fa’apea ai o ia na avea le tupe” (translation – Well she does misbehave so I thought it was her that took it) and then he turned to us, told us to do the saka and left for work. Not one ounce of ‘I’m sorry, I was in the wrong, please forgive me’. It was as if nothing happened.
We are plagued with this mentality that parents do not have to say sorry to their kids because according to the bible it is the kid’s duty to honour their parents and if the parents are wrong, oh well, keep moving and get over it. WRONG! Yes the bible says that we need to honour our parents, but that honour comes your way when what you are doing is in accordance to the will of God. Do you think God would expect your child to honour you while being abused? What right do we have to abuse our children and then expect honour and respect from them when the abuse that we have placed upon them is not what God had in mind when he gifted us with the little precious humans to love and cherish with all our hearts just as much as he cherishes them?
I once asked a Samoan male why he never said sorry to his kids when he was in the wrong and his answer was “It’s because I grew up in a household where parents never said sorry”. We need to learn to break this cycle and show our kids that we value everything about them and when we are in the wrong, just admit it. It won’t kill you. But the lack of hearing those words could kill the relationship between you are your child.
You don’t need a degree to say sorry. There is no art form to it. You just need a heart and a hell of a lot of love. It’s never to late to say sorry for your past, present and future mistakes while you are filled with Gods breath. I promise that when you say sorry and you mean it with all your heart and it comes with an explanation as to why you did wrong, it might not earn you love from your child straight away but it will help mend their broken hearts and melt them back in to your loving arms. Saying sorry could be the defining moment in your child’s life, no matter how young or old they are.