Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.Oscar Wilde
Forgiveness can be one of the most difficult things a person can do in life, especially if it involves their parents. Of course, we have lots to be grateful for when it comes to moms, dads and other parental figures in our lives, but no parent is perfect – it’s an incredibly tough job and we all make mistakes!
Forgive Mom & Dad Day is about starting out on that path to forgiveness, building better relationships and taking the time to care for yourself in the process.
History of Forgive Mom & Dad Day
Forgiveness has long been a central part of human existence. Various world religions and philosophies foreground the importance of forgiveness in leading a virtuous and healthy life.
In Hinduism and Buddhism, for example, the practice is seen as essential for letting go of negative thoughts and creating the headspace for a more positive mindset and lifestyle, while the Christian doctrine is based on God’s forgiveness of humankind through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Allah is also considered by Muslims to be the source of forgiveness. And when it comes to philosophy, advocates of forgiveness have ranged from the Stoics such as Seneca and Marcus Aurelius to the postmodern philosopher Derrida.
Created by Thomas and Ruth Roy of Wellcat Holidays™, Forgive Mom & Dad Day focuses on finding forgiveness specifically for your parents. The couple have founded numerous events to help ensure that there are plenty of occasions to mark throughout the year, including Forgive Mom & Dad Day.
No matter your relationship with your parents or guardians, forgiving them can be the best thing you can do for yourself. You may have relatively little to forgive them for – perhaps they lost their temper with you on occasion or missed your dance recital one time – or maybe you have much more deep-seated issues with your parents that will take a long time to come to terms with.
It’s important to remember that forgiveness is always a process and doesn’t just happen overnight; if you’re at a point where you want to absolve your parents of wrongdoing, then it may well take time and effort to heal old wounds and perhaps even form a meaningful relationship with them again.
Forgive Mom & Dad Day is about starting the process of healing – deciding that you want to reach a place of forgiveness and setting off on the journey to get there.
The act of forgiveness
Forgiveness is not the same as forgetting or excusing the person of accountability – in this way we can forgive someone while still being on our guard in future and with a clear sense of right and wrong. Similarly, there may be things your parents have done that are simply unforgiveable to you or at least feel that way right now, and that’s completely ok! You are never obligated to forgive someone – it’s entirely within your own choosing and should be done at your own pace.
Having said that, there are various benefits that come from forgiveness if the person is in a place where they truly feel ready and able to do so. Although the emotional vulnerability required to admit when you’ve been hurt can be hard, holding onto negative emotions from your childhood can greatly affect your adult relationships, the way you interact with the world and how you view and treat yourself. While feelings of anger and resentment are completely justifiable, they are also expended energy that can’t be returned.
Forgiveness allows us to expel these feelings and find peace. It’s been shown to correlate with improved physical and mental wellbeing, for example reduced stress, lowered blood pressure and fewer negative emotions, which creates more room for happier ones. It can also help us build better relationships, which are vital to our quality of life and the communities and societies in which we live in.
Forgiveness is increasingly being used as a tool in therapy, although great care has to be taken to ensure that the individual is neither rushed into forgiving someone when they’re not ready nor made to feel that their negative emotions resulting from the experience are invalid or better directed at themselves. As long as it’s done in the right way and at the right time, forgiveness is something we can work towards with the help of a professional.
How to celebrate Forgive Mom & Dad Day
Celebrate this day by beginning the process of forgiveness. If you don’t know where to start, try talking with someone close to you or a qualified therapist about your past experiences. They’ll be able to offer you support and comfort as well as advice on how to work things through and build bridges with your parents or guardians.
Take the time to process any pain you’re feeling – although the past can’t be erased, by not dwelling on it you can still move forward with your life. There’s plenty of advice available online about steps to take towards forgiveness – these can involve accepting how you’re feeling, recognizing that everyone is flawed and focusing on what you learned from the experience.
If you feel you’re ready, speak with your parental figures and tell them about your childhood experiences and how you felt. Forgive them if you can or let them know that you’re working on it.
If you’re a parent yourself, then why not take the time to speak with your children and ask them if there’s anything they’d like to forgive you for. You initiating that first step can give them the courage to open up in ways they may not have otherwise. Use this as an opportunity to learn and grow, building a stronger relationship with your kids. And remember that self-forgiveness is equally important – parenting is hard, so acknowledge your faults but don’t be too hard on yourself! Share this day with friends, family, colleagues and on social media if you feel it can benefit people you know and love.