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Forgive Fast Lesson © Jenny Jenkins 2015  www.valueslessonsnz.com

Have the slogan 'Forgive Fast' displayed in a prominent place.  
Other lesson ideas about forgiveness are listed as subpages at the side or bottom.   

'Think of a time when you hurt or disappointed someone you cared about.
(Pause while the students think.) Is anyone willing to share what happened?' Listen to some students stories, asking each the following questions: 
1. How did you feel after you hurt them?
2. Did you say sorry?
3. Did they forgive you?
4. How did that make you feel?
5. Is someone else willing to share?

We all get hurt sometime, often by the words or actions of someone we care about. These wounds usually leave us feeling angry, bitter and even planning revenge.
When someone we care about hurts us, we have an important choice to make: to hold on to our anger, and try to make them pay for it, or to forgive.
If you forgive, you will save your friendship, and friendships are the most important things we have. But you will also save yourself the stress that comes from staying angry. Forgiveness helps bitter (write BITTER) people to become BETTER people. (Change the I in 'BITTER' to an E)

Why should we forgive when someone hurts us? (Take ideas first)
No-one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes.
If we hold grudges when people let us down we'll end up having no friends at all.
We also make mistakes and hurt others. 
We appreciate being given a fresh start. We should treat others the same.

It's better to forgive, for lots of good reasons

Research shows that people who forgive others: 
Live happier lives
Live healthier lives 
Live longer lives 
Have more friends 
Like themselves more 
(For more detailed information on the benefits of forgiving: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/forgiveness/definition)
If you don't forgive, you're the one who suffers the most. 'Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.' Anne Lamott
So, who wants to be a forgiver? It sure pays to (point to the slogan) 'Forgive Fast!'

What is forgiveness? 
Take ideas, covering the following: Giving up the right to get even. Treating people better than they deserve. Treating people the same as before they hurt you. Choosing peace instead of justice. Choosing to take the pain of their rejection instead of paying them back.

 Top Ten Tips on How to Forgive
 1. Don't sweat the small stuff: ignore or overlook small slights or snubs. They are usually done in jest, and seldom meant to hurt you.
 2. Don't be easily offended or super-sensitive. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Don't 'read into things.' They may have no idea that they hurt you.
 3. Try to understand why they may have acted that way. They may be upset at something else not related to you at all.
 4. Confront them, but do it quietly and privately, 'I felt............ when you said ......... Did you mean it to hurt me?' Hurts handled correctly can make a friendship stronger.
 5. Ask them questions like these: 'Are you okay? Are you annoyed at me about anything? Do you realise what you just said? What did you mean?'
 6. Talk to the mirror about it, don't gossip to others. (See the Forgive Fast Movie)
 7. Find something positive in what happened. 'Every cloud has a silver lining.'
 8. Think of five good things about the person who offended you. Find a way to be nice to them. Why? (Investing your time makes you value and be more committed to what you invest in.)
9. Write down their offence on paper, read it aloud, say 'I forgive.... for hurting me by .................'. Rip the paper in half and bin it. 
10. Then, forgive and leave it behind. 
If you are still feeling angry, do steps 7-10 again.

Apologise Meaningfully in 4 simple steps 
1. I’m sorry for…
2. This was wrong because…
3. In the future, I will…
4. Will you forgive me?

Have the pupils write these steps down, then practise them orally in pairs. Read out these these scenarios for them to role-play:
a. You borrowed a pen off your friend's desk without asking. Your friend searched all their gear, pockets and the floor and couldn't find it. They got in trouble for not having their pen ready to take down notes. Apologise meaningfully to them.
b. You grabbed your friend's hat to tease them, and threw it to someone else. It landed in a muddy puddle. They got in trouble for not wearing their uniform hat. Apologise meaningfully to them.
Read this excellent article by a teacher who taught his class how to apologise and mean it:  
http://www.cuppacocoa.com/a-better-way-to-say-sorry/     Try these ideas with your class. 

But what if they aren't sorry or don't change? 
It doesn't matter. You forgive mainly because not forgiving only hurts you. Forgiving also means that they lose the power to ruin your day. What does this saying mean? 'The best revenge is a happy life.'
This Weeks Challenge
1. Find an opportunity to practise (privately and politely) confronting someone who has hurt you.
2. Practise using the 4 step 'Meaningful Apology'. 
Begin the Next Lesson with Revision
1. What is forgiveness?
2. Why should we forgive when someone hurts us?
3. What are some tips on how to forgive?
4. What are the 4 simple steps to saying sorry meaningfully? Who found that they helped? Would you be willing to share about this?
5. Is someone willing to share how they responded with a question when someone hurt or disappointed them? 

Print out this Image as a Forgiveness poster:   http://motivateustoday.com/images/trust-adventure/the_key-trust.jpg