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.

Why Be Happy?

I was looking at a draft of this post as an earthquake just rippled through New York. Several of my workmates felt it. I didn’t — I was dreamy, lost in a break from work, reading my own blog.

My niece made this heart in the sand. Kids are amazing.

Here’s the post I was looking at when the rest of NYC felt the tremor —

***Maybe I should stop looking for happiness and start looking for meaning.

In How To Land Your Kid in Therapy the writer Lori Gottlieb asks: “Could it be that by protecting our kids from unhappiness as children, we’re depriving them of happiness as adults?”

I’ve blogged about this  A Generation of Disconnected Kids And decided I’m going to walk the middle ground between helicopter mom/tiger mom and neglectful mom.

Gottlieb’s article is tearing up the blogosphere. Even the blog, The Quotidian Hudson,, devoted to the awesome Hudson River, quotes Gottlieb’s article:

“Happiness as a goal is a recipe for disaster.”

That is something it seems we don’t teach much anymore.  As the founders/Jefferson put it, Happiness is not an unalienable right “the pursuit” is… (Robert Johnson)

I think part of my problem with over-parenting is that I am overly involved with my kids’ happiness. I need to step back and let them pursue their own happiness. Then I can pursue my own.

I can do less, but that means I need to ask for more help. Asking For Help.  And that’s not easy.

But remember my Number 2 Rule? Pile on the People!

And though everyone’s talking and blogging about Gottlieb’s Atlantic article. I hope the discussion on overinvolved parents (read mothers) doesn’t devolve into a mother-bashing session,  ’cause God knows, we mothers are doing the best we can.

That would be a nice after-shock to the article — if people had a greater appreciation for a mother’s work and helped one another out more.