I have heard a lot of talk about the importance of helping children to forgive.  Yet, I now wonder about adolescents.  They are more independent or self-reliant.  How can we foster forgiveness in them when they may be less likely to sit and listen to you?

Forgiveness, according to Aristotle, develops in part by practice and by the support of others for that practice.  I suggest what we might call “teachable moments.”  Suppose you are watching a film together and there is conflict among the characters.  You could ask this of the adolescent: “What might have happened if Character A forgave Character B rather than seeking revenge?”  Another teachable moment is at the dinner table when people may be talking about their experiences that day.  If someone has had a conflict at school or at work, then discuss this with an eye toward forgiveness as still a possible option.

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