Forgiving the Bad Apples

We had a class meeting the other night. One parent reported that a few bad apples have spoiled the whole class’s reputation. Several people nodded and one parent said something like, “Yes, if we were rid of those bad apples, everything would be fine.” Most of us nodded. (I didn’t even know the bad apples, but what she said made sense. Like the song goes, “One bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch, girl.” Oh, wait, one doesn’t spoil the whole bunch! Good to know!)

One woman spoke up, “I think we’re too involved. Let’s let the kids work it out themselves.”

Jones Beach in winter

Another said, “Yes, we should teach our children to be forgiving. We hold our grudges for too long.”

Walking out with these new friends from the meeting, I said to the woman who advocated forgiveness, “What a powerful idea. I forget about forgiveness.”

“Some of my students’ parents still remember when their child was wronged in 1st grade and I teach 8th grade,” said a new friend, a teacher in another school. “We have to let go.”

I’ve thought about this conversation for several days. I wonder if I, like many people, define myself by NOT being one of the bad apples (and certainly none of MY children are rotten!). And I’m not sure I always forgive and forget.

I have always liked being a good apple. And have enjoyed the smug pride of my righteous, responsible and kind nature.

I actually despise bad apples. I detest overly negative people. (Especially since giving up gossip again this Lent!) And yet, I recognize the irony — I am extremely negative about negative people.

I wonder if I might try this new practice of forgiving the bad apples, the good apples, the negative people and even, myself.

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9 thoughts on “Forgiving the Bad Apples

  1. I always admire tolerant people. Those who find a way to be forgiving – even around the most negative people. For some reason they just know how to deflect the negativity and spin in into positiveness! Maybe I’ll try this for lent!

    1. It’s hard to do. Even harder to forgive myself for not being perfect. 😉 But you seem to put a positive spin on life, Kara! Keep it up!

  2. I love this blog…on the same note…there is a powerful line in War Horse….”Some days are best to be forgotten…and this is one of them.” We are a culture of processing, and sometimes we just need to be reminded to let go.

    1. Yes! I agree. Sometimes I feel I live in a culture of criticism. But maybe instead of always proving how smart I am, I could see my task as one of proving how easily I can let go of my resentments!

  3. It’s often important to find out why a kid is acting out. I spend a lot of time with a 10-year-old friend that has probably been labeled “bad apple” at least until they discovered he needed eye therapy to learn to read and was acting out to avoid being embarrassed by his lack of something other kids seemed to get so easily. Guess I don’t believe in bad apples though I know I’ve sometimes acted badly. It’s important to check out systems that develop bad apples and gripers. I think there are many abusive work environments right now and that can be a source of such behavior. Good apples acting badly.

    1. I so agree. I want to be aware that there are no bad apples. And I want to live and work in communities that value tolerance, forgiveness, and kindness above criticism, correction, judgment.

      1. Agreed! I think there’s enough criticism, correction, and judgement in the world, don’t you? We need more tolerance, forgiveness, and kindness – and we have to provide it 🙂

        I do find forgiveness REALLY difficult at times. I’m a stubborn person by nature and therefore find it easier to hold a grudge than release it and forgive. I keep one of my favorite inspirational books in full view in my house as a constant reminder – “Forgiving the Unforgivable” by Master Charles Cannon (http://forgivingtheunforgivable.com). If I’m feeling particularly negative, I look at it and am reminded to breathe, let go, and forgive.

  4. Hey would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using? I’m going to start my own blog soon but I’m having a hard time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S Sorry for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

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