When I taught fifth grade, a student came to me about an upsetting interaction she’d had with another student. While trying to help her, she revealed the encounter happened while she was in third grade.
Two years later, the hurt was still there. Naturally we talked it through, and the next day during Morning Meeting we talked about apology and forgiveness. What upset the student the most is that she felt she deserved an apology and didn’t get one. Sometimes we don’t get an apology.
I shared the story of the Strawberry Thanksgiving with them and I brought in fresh strawberries. While we ate, I shared an experience I had in fifth grade and how I didn’t get the apology I was looking for. We wrote letters to someone who had upset us and then tore them into small, small bits. Wow! We all felt better and the air felt lighter.
Since Kindergarten kids feel these same emotions, I read Horrible Bear (Ame Dyckman/Zachariah OHora). I share the stories and, of course, the strawberries. Instead of writing lettters, we draw pictures. I have forgiven you, Marcus. Many times!
Photo by Prathyush Thomas – Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37417959