Apologizing is hard. And I'm not even talking about the "changing the behavior" part of amends, which is one of the most difficult things there is to pull off, mostly because it's so necessary to the process. I'm talking about simply admitting we are wrong and all that we have to set aside to do that. For me personally, the most difficult kind of amends is apologizing to my son when I'm wrong. You'd think it would be easier, based on all we've been through together. Making amends is not brain cancer. But it is what it is, and everything has its own degree of difficulty. It happens about once a year between me and my son, and it happened again ast night. He's twenty-one, not a child, and yet he's still a child because I'm his father, and regardless of how "adult" he's able to pass himself off as, it's just an illusion. That will probably always be the case, but I hope not.
He went to bed angry. He got up from our discussion and said, "I'm not going to sit here and be scolded about this" as he walked away. I got up about twenty minutes later to go in to say goodnight and probably apologize, though I didn't feel like I was "scolding" him, and the details aren't important, but suffice it to say I was triggered and reacted to a mistake of perception he made - a not-all-that-uncommon one, by the way - by getting a little more intense than I should have in response. We didn't shout at each other, we never do, but it was... intense. And that's on me. Because I was triggered. And I'm intense. And so I must make amends when he gets up. Which I will do.
But it made me wonder. How many parents can't, because it's so difficult, bring themselves to apologize to their children when they're wrong? They are the authority figures and must stick to their guns, not back down and plow ahead right or wrong, showing no signs of "weakness." Because admitting you are wrong is, to many, a weakness. Could that be one of the causes of the state we find ourselves in as a collective? I'm not just talking narcissism, that's too obvious, as we've learned abundantly the last few years. I'm just talking about mediocre parenting. Or is the state we find ourselves in simply a result of the fact that so many refuse to see us as a collective at all - to them there is no interconnectedness - and that is what's reflected in how they raise their children, which results in a vicious cycle of abuse? Because here we are, faced with a country floundering drunkenly, a fear-induced stupor, in its transition of power. And there are still people who think showing up at the seat of power, the state capitols, the streets, brandishing weapons, shouting slogans and threats instead of recognizing their mistake and admitting defeat and making amends. They are bad parents who were subjected to bad parenting.