Friday, July 29, 2011

No Apology--Well, Maybe Some

In his book, No Apology, Mitt Romney stresses the importance of maintaining our position as the greatest nation on earth, and never apologizing for it. Never apologize for prosperity. Never apologize for security. And never apologize for liberty.

He’s right. On the point of never backing down from our greatness. But I think some might take “no apology” too far and apply it to everything in life.

I too believe we are the “brightest hope of the world.” Yet can you imagine what our world would be if everyone learned to say those two simple words, “I’m sorry.” Even better, “I was wrong. I’m sorry. Can you forgive me?”

While on a family trip recently, my eight-year-old son was driving my sister’s golf cart and accidentally ran into her fence, breaking several of the boards. After running upstairs crying, locking himself in the room, and vowing he would never drive again, he finally let me in to discuss what had happened. He felt just terrible. He felt so sorry. But he was afraid to tell his uncle and apologize. “He’ll be so mad. He’ll never let me visit again. He’ll kick me out!”

When I assured him that his uncle would understand—many others actually had run into the fence, too, including each of his cousins, a few of their friends, and even myself and his uncle—he felt a little more reassured. I promised him we’d be able to fix it and make everything better. My son finally felt enough courage to go apologize to his uncle and get started fixing the fence. My brother-in-law, of course, wasn’t mad at all, didn’t kick anyone out, and was very appreciative of the apology.

The next day, after a quick trip to the hardware store and a few hours of prying, painting, hammering, and only one bruised finger, the fence was as good as new.

If only all fence-mending were that simple. If only all our problems could be fixed with a few nails, a paintbrush, and a little hard work. But one thing is for certain, any decent repair job begins with a decent apology.

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