Getting a kid to say ' I am sorry ' - even if it is not sincere -is common amongst parents and teachers who want to make children accountable for their deeds and pay the price.
In the Collaborative problem solving process –CPS , making the apology comes at the end of the process .
First we problem solve and come up with a better plan , and help the kid change from the inside. We give him a vision of the future , the type of person he wants to be.
Now he is in a position to deal with past and engage in an autonomous way in the moral act of restitution , and making a sincere apology with his self esteem intact.
Accountability is more than 'saying sorry ' , it is creating a vision of oneself as a caring person and making a commitment to the future. see true accountability
Joe Bower in a blog – autonomous and authentic apologies writes
Apologizing needs to feel like empathy, not guilt and retribution…. Saying sorry is less about the person saying it and more about the person hearing it. …It is about how we can show others we care about them.
His words are an important guide in how we engage in character education and moral development.
There is a tendency is focus on the doing of good deeds – helping others, inviting singles or who do not have family, or poor kids to your home for dinner , giving a kid in need clothes, food, sweets etc ,kids going to entertain a down syndrome child or doing housework for an old lady etc.
Kids are then rewarded with stickers etc for every good deed they do. The kids and people they help hereby become 'objects ' that enable THEM to do the good deeds - something that enables them to do the good deed of inviting guests or helping a person in need. Only when kids are intrinsically motivated and not collecting good deeds can they be empathic and focus on the physical and emotional-relatedness needs of other kids.
Not only have we ' converted social norms into economic norms ' - Dan Ariely , but converted people into objects. The down syndrome kid soon feels that the teen is not interested in forming a relationship or a friendship – becoming a real friend , the guest feels he is serving the hosts need to ' have guests' – an object of charity rather than a real person who has a need for connection and ' relatedness'.
Good deeds done this way is more about the person doing it and less about the person we are supposed to be connecting with. Relatedness goes beyond the physical interaction, it is more about an emotional connection, a feeling of being respected as an autonomous human being , understood, and cared about.
This understanding can be used to explain a strange commentary on the words
from Psalm 34. ' Seek peace and pursue it ' - seek peace but not good deeds.
Peace is about relationship and connection between people on an emotional level. We should pursue peaceful relationships. When we pursue good deeds , it is more about us and less about the other person.
In a similar light
The biblical character Jacob (Yaakov) blessed his son Judah (Yehudah) that “……your teeth white with milk” (i.e., the land will be fertile so that it would produce an abundance of milk). The commentary teaches that “teeth white with milk” can be read to mean that when one shows his teeth (by smiling) to another, it is better than giving him milk; while milk nourishes the body, a smile enters the mind and body and real connection
and relationship is made with the other person
An emotional connection affects both the physical and emotional sides of people.
Here is a message to teachers of our kids
It is not so important for kids how much you know but how much you care