A 3-year-old gave her mom a 25-word master class on what forgiveness really means.

Mom and blogger Mary Katherine Backstrom regularly shares snippets of life with her two children on her Facebook page. One particularly touching interaction with her daughter is melting hearts and blowing minds due to the three-year-old's wise words about forgiveness.

Even adults struggle with the concept of forgiveness. Entire books have been written about how and why to forgive those who have wronged us, but many still have a hard time getting it. Who would guess that a preschooler could encapsulate what forgiveness means in a handful of innocent words?


Backstrom told the story in a now viral Facebook post:

"My daughter and I just had a knock-down, drag-out bedtime hour. Finally, about ten minutes ago, I put her to bed and through clinched teeth said 'I love you, Holland, but not another word tonight. You are going to sleep now. I'm done fussing over stuffed animals.'

Kanye West is building low-income houses that will look like they're straight out of 'Star Wars.'

'Mommy?'

I paused on the way out the door, literally biting my tongue I was so frustrated.

'What is it, Holland?'

'I DO have one more thing to say.'

Of course she did. She was standing on the bed with her hands on her hips, too. Her hair was wild and she was using her arm to wipe her tears and snot away from her face.

'Mommy,' my three year old said, staring me down with venom in her tiny voice...

'I FORGIVE YOU!!!'

Then she laid down and cried and honest to goodness, for a hot minute, I didn't know what to do.

The way she said 'I forgive you,' made it sound like cuss words.

I walked over to the bedside and leaned over.

'Baby girl, do you know what forgiveness means?'

She was still sniffling, her face shoved deep into her Little Mermaid pillow.

'Yes,' she muttered.

I really had to hear this.

'It means you were wrong, and I'm tired of being mad, and now I'm going to sleep and my heart won't have a tummy ache.'

So there you have it, folks.

Tonight I was taught a lesson in forgiveness by a three year old. It was a gut punch, too. And you're dang right I climbed in that bed and loved on her.

Because to be honest, MY heart had a bit of a tummy ache.

I was reminded by my toddler to never go to bed in anger. Because when you do, your heart will have a tummy ache.

And you know what? I've been alive for 35 years, and I've got to give it to her:

She's not wrong."

Racist women told Burger King manager to 'go back to Mexico.' He gave them a lesson in civics instead.

According to experts, the preschooler really isn't wrong.

According to UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center:

"Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.

Just as important as defining what forgiveness is, though, is understanding what forgiveness is not. Experts who study or teach forgiveness make clear that when you forgive, you do not gloss over or deny the seriousness of an offense against you. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses. Though forgiveness can help repair a damaged relationship, it doesn't obligate you to reconcile with the person who harmed you, or release them from legal accountability.

Instead, forgiveness brings the forgiver peace of mind and frees him or her from corrosive anger. While there is some debate over whether true forgiveness requires positive feelings toward the offender, experts agree that it at least involves letting go of deeply held negative feelings. In that way, it empowers you to recognize the pain you suffered without letting that pain define you, enabling you to heal and move on with your life."

Basically, Holland said the same thing, just in 25 kid-friendly words.

The post has been shared more than 92,000 times, and Backstrom told Upworthy she was pleasantly surprised when it went viral.

"It makes me happy when heartwarming stories go viral," she said, "because I think it's a shared slice of humanity that everyone is finding in common. And in this case, the innocence and profound wisdom that at times comes from the mouths of children."

"I think children are able to speak profound truths," she added, "because they address complex emotions in simple ways. As adults we complicate our approach to conflict. We could learn a lot from toddlers who express their frustration, hug it out, forgive, and move on. It would certainly save us a few 'heart tummy aches.'"

Indeed it would. Thank you, Holland, for the sweet reminder.

Family


Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is a name you should remember. If you don't follow politics closely, remember his name because he's the first Republican in Congress to openly join the call for a renewed federal ban on assault weapons.

If you're a Democrat or a diehard progressive partisan, remember his name because it's proof that as a nation we can put principles before party and walk across the political aisle to get things done.

If you're a Republican, remember his name as evidence that real leadership in politics sometimes means risking your reputation to do what is right even when most of your colleagues disagree or lack the political courage to go first.

But let's allow Rep. King to explain himself in his own words:

Keep Reading Show less
Democracy
via PixaBay

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has brought a lot of attention to the idea of implementing a universal basic income on America. His "freedom dividend" would pay every American $1,000 a month to spend as they choose.

In addition to helping Americans deal with a future in which the labor market will be upended by automation, this basic income could allow Americans to rethink what we see as work and nurture what Yang calls a "human-centered" economy.

Keep Reading Show less
Family

Patagonia has taken "family-friendly workplace" to a whole new level, and people are noticing.

The outdoor clothing and gear company has made a name for itself by putting its money where its mouth is. From creating backpacks out of 100% recycled materials to donating their $10 million tax cut to fight climate change to refusing to sell to clients who harm the environment, Patagonia leads by example.

That dedication to principle is clear in its policies for parents who work for them, as evidenced by a viral post from Holly Morisette, a recruiter at Patagonia.

Keep Reading Show less
Family
Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash

Returning to school after summer break meant the return of classes and new lockers, but for me it also meant heading back to basketball practice. I can't say I remember most games or practices, but certain memories still stick in my mind — and some don't even have to do with basketball at all. Like the time I was sitting on the gym floor one day before practice, lacing up my shoes, when an assistant coach on the boy's team came over to me. "Did you lose weight this summer?" he asked. "Were you trying to?" I was 15.

My teenage years, like many people's, were a time when my appearance occupied my thoughts more than almost anything else. The idea of being thinner or smaller was always appealing to me then, no matter what size I was. Given this, the idea of someone — anyone — thinking I looked smaller should have been appealing to me, but when this coach asked me that question, I remember feeling hot with an immediate wave of embarrassment. "How big had I been last year? Did I not look OK then? Maybe I should have worked out more."

The real answer to his question was that I had spent most of the summer playing competitive basketball, working out for three or four hours a day, four days a week. I hadn't really had time to focus on weight loss at all, but I guess it had happened. Suddenly, though, I was feeling like maybe I should have been more focused on it. If this person, a grown adult, had recognized that I was smaller, then obviously he recognized I was bigger before. I had room to improve, clearly, and I still had room to improve. It would be another decade before I finally learned to be content as is.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture