“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Ghandi
SEL Connection: There is perhaps no more difficult task in life than to forgive someone who has done you wrong. We know that we are taught by our parents and teachers to always give other people second chances because one day you’ll need them to give you a break too. Forgiveness is an integral component of how we treat other people and can often be the deciding factor in whether or not our relationships work out in the end.
Students, intentionally or not, hurt each other by what they say or do. This happens on the playground, in the halls and in the classroom. How students navigate these moments is crucial to the development of their own self esteem and the self esteem of others.
(1) Claim: According to Ghandi, somebody who forgives demonstrates strength of character. It makes perfect sense because to forgive somebody is to put your own ego and need for being ‘right’ in the backseat and to instead reach out to another person with a generous heart. Weak people can’t forgive because they are powerless and allow anger to rule over them.
(2) Counterclaim: Wait a minute. Holding people responsible for their mistakes may be a better way to show strength. Think about it. If the wrong done to us is so great, then it’s important to stand up for ourselves and demand accountability, especially if the wrong has happened multiple times. Sometimes, people never learn and so it is weak and foolish to think we should constantly forgive others.
(3) Essential Question: Does forgiveness show strength or weakness?