By Mrs Nikki Grauman, Head of Academic Care, Junior School
Recently, both the Junior and Seniors School students at Masada College participated in a range of activities to promote National Reconciliation week. The key idea of this week is to bring together the relationship between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. As a school, Reconciliation Week resonates with us as we encourage our students to work together, to synergise and reconcile our differences when they arise and to do so with respect and sincerity.
In my role as Head of Academic Care, I often deal with students who need to work with one another to reconcile a difference of opinion or belief or to rectify a situation in order to move forward. This got me thinking about what it takes to make a sincere apology and about the process involved when we work together to try and repair a situation.
In my research I came upon this explanation of an apology: An apology is a statement that has two key elements – it shows your remorse over your actions and it acknowledges the hurt that your actions have caused to someone else. Whilst an apology appears like a simple way of making amends and we know that it is an effective way to restore trust and balance in a relationship, many of us nonetheless find it a difficult thing to do.
These are the four key steps in making an apology: 1. Express remorse, 2. Admit responsibility, 3. Make amends and 4. Take steps to ensure you do not find yourself in the same situation again.
What we need to realise is that an apology is a means of opening dialogue between the two parties. When we are willing to admit our mistake, the other person is given the opportunity to start to rebuild their trust and re-establish their relationship with you. It also gives you a chance to discuss what is and isn’t acceptable. Offering a sincere apology is a means to begin a healing process for those you hurt. However, we need to also remember that we too benefit when we make an apology as we assume responsibility for our actions. This allows us to build up our self-confidence, self-respect and reputation. When we fail to apologise we build animosity and tension and this can create a toxic environment. I found this quote I will leave you with: “You can grow flowers where dirt used to be.” Teach your children, as we try to teach our students, the art of making a sincere apology when we have hurt someone – You never know what can come out of this act of working together with courage, hand in hand.