A few weeks ago, I took my children along to see the movie, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood”. If you have seen the movie, you will know that Tom Hanks stars as American children’s entertainer, Fred Rogers. In the movie, a journalist is given an assignment to interview Mr Rogers, and we see them develop a relationship through the process of his interviews and research for the article. All of this occurs as the journalist is trying to re-establish a relationship with his estranged father, who had abandoned the family when he was a very young child.
The key theme that comes through in this movie is that of forgiveness, and how challenging this can be when we have been hurt deeply by those that we love. The portrayal of the main character is that of an incredibly kind and selfless man, who guides the journalist to forgive his father-the person who had wronged him. He seems to understand the significance of this act of forgiveness for the journalist’s happiness and ultimately being able to move forward with his life in a positive way.
In this way, forgiveness does not mean that we allow the person who has wronged us to “get away with it”, but rather we understand that the act of forgiving helps us to be released of the negative emotions associated with holding on to the upset, anger and sadness. Even more powerful is the process of forgiveness where we have an opportunity to tell those that have hurt us, how we have been impacted, and to have those feelings acknowledged. Forgiveness is an important journey for all parties involved in the wrong doing, as it allows us to repair and move forward.
In everyday life things go wrong, we make mistakes and hurt others, with our words and our actions. Whilst forgiveness in these situations is not something we can always expect, it is certainly an important message that we encourage our students to understand and to strive towards. The language that we use with our students focusses on taking responsibility for behaviours, having empathy for the feelings of those who have been wronged and problem solving solutions to make things right. Each of us make mistakes. When students are able to do these things successfully, forgiveness will more often follow.
Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32