A little boy named Trent is staying with us right now. He’s ten. Because he’s lived a very very transient life he hasn’t learned some basic social skills most of us assume kids know.
Trent is very smart and quick but knife and fork skills are not his thing, no one has taught him to shake hands, to load a dishwasher and not to burp in a big way at the dinner table. But those are the little things in life. Some stuff is a lot more important.
After living together for almost a month, Sandor and Trent got into a fight. I never figured out exactly what happened but Sandor felt like Trent acted in an “un-dude” kind of way. They were wrestling, afterwards and I think Trent sucker punched Sandor in the kidneys….while Sandor was walking away…that made my son absolutely furious.
He said he was sick of Trent and wanted him to move out.
If Trent doesn’t stay here, he’ll have to go to a foster home. DHS.
An hour later the boys were fine, joking and wrestling and acting like stupid ten year goobers.
Later that night when Trent and I were alone I asked him what happened. He told me his version. Then I asked him what Sandor would say when I asked him the same question. He thought for a minute then told me a slightly different story..
After a few minutes I said, “Trent, did you remember to apologize?”
He just shook his head. “Ok, here’s the deal. If you learn to apologize you will be a much happier guy. All you have to do is say, “I’m sorry I hurt you” or ” I’m sorry I hurt your feelings” and a lot of times things will get better. If you screw up go on and say you’re sorry. Most of the time that’s all it takes and people will stop being mad.”
I told him I knew apologizing sucked and was hard. But it would really make his life better. Then I said something like, “and when you have a girl friend or wife, you’ll need too apologize all the time.”
Trent looked surprised. “Why?”
“Guys say stupid stuff that hurts our feelings all the time. Mr Alex has to apologize lots.”
That got Trent’s attention and when I left the room he said, “Mr Alex why do you have to say you’re sorry?”
Alex laughed. “I’m in trouble all the time. I hurt her feelings and I piss her off and I don’t even know why. Well sometimes I do know. But If I apologize she usually gets over it.”
Saying your sorry really does suck. It’s hard and embarrassing but sometimes it helps so much. The Lord knows I have a lot to apologize for, so it seems like it should get easier or I should get better at it…but that’s not the case though. Maybe next week.