• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I have often observed small children say, "sorry" repeatedly and without meaning it, as if saying sorry is an excuse to forget about bad behavior and then repeat it.

One child grabbed another's toy -
then shouted 'sorry' as they ran away with the toy.

Another child ran their bike into a group of children as they rode around a playground. 'Sorry' they called as they continued on their way.  On the next couple rounds they did the same thing. 

A larger child punched and kicked a small child and left them crying on the ground.  'Sorry' was voiced but certainly did not mean the larger child regretted what was done. 

What exactly does sorry mean?

A dictionary states that it means feeling or expressing pity, sympathy, remorse, grief or regret. An exclamation expressing apology used especially at the time of misdemeanor or offense. 

I have my own definition! 
Sorry means I won't do it again.
And if I can make amends I will do that too.

I love the Friend, a children's magazine published for children by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I subscribed when my children were young and still do - I think I am addicted ... giggle ... or else I must admit to being child like - I keep learning from the simple lessons in its pages.

The April 2011 issue (page 22) simply and effectively teaches about the 1st four principles and ordinances Latter Day Saints believe are important. I like what it had to say about repentance - "Repentance is when we change our hearts to be more like Heavenly Father. When we do something wrong, we feel sorry and promise ourselves and Heavenly Father that we will not do that wrong thing again. When we repent we can be forgiven because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ."

Perhaps I learned my definition of sorry from a child's magazine or Primary lesson.  I especially like that here 'sorry' includes a promise to myself (and God) to not do the wrong thing again.

I mostly know what is right and what is wrong. 
We all do. 
Sure we excuse and justify many things we do but are we sorry?

Or are we like young children that speak it without meaning?

As I read the article I began to mull over things I do and wonder if I have things I need to stop and promise MYSELF I will never do again.

Do I always obey the law? keep the speed limit? pay the parking meter? do my VT? keep my word? tell the truth? pay my creditors? treat others kindly even when they bug me?

I refuse to answer any of the above questions.
My list is getting rather longish ...

What about you?

Sorry means I am never going to do that again.  
I promise.