The Fonz

family, leadership, parenting

Remember Happy Days, and how Fonzie could never say “I was w-w….I was wer…” He could never say he was wrong.

I remember a time when one of my daughters (who shall remain nameless) was a preschooler. I’d noticed she was finding it impossible to apologize, to admit she was wrong, when there were little blow ups with her friends. So, when she slapped me in anger, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to push her through and have to admit she was wrong and apologize. We went in our tent, and I explained how what she did hurt me.

“No it didn’t,” she said. Yes, it did, I said. It hurt my face and it hurt my feelings.

“I don’t want you here. I want mommy.” I know you do. It feels yucky between us right now. What can we do to fix it?

“Don’t know.” I need you to say you’re sorry you hit daddy. Then I can forgive you, and we can hug, and it can fix what’s yucky.

“I don’t want to say it.” I know. It’s hard. It’s hard to admit when we’re wrong. But it’s important. Because until you say you’re sorry, we can’t get to the good part. I can’t forgive you, and we can’t hug. We’ll just stay here in the tent feeling yucky until you decide to say “I’m sorry.”

I wanted to push her to do this while it still was a relatively little thing. It seemed really important to make her understand it did hurt me and she did need to figure out how to heal a broken relationship by admitting she was wrong and saying she was sorry. It took her quite awhile, but she did apologize, and we did hug, and it was really good.

This is important. Admitting when we’re wrong and apologizing is important. It’s important for me, and it’s important to teach my children. And apparently, some people never learned this lesson.

“Look, Mr. Brown,” I want to be able to say. “You are not leaving this tent until you can say, ‘What we did wasn’t enough. It hurt, and I’m sorry.’”

Apparently, this is too much to ask.

8 thoughts on “The Fonz

  1. Not politics, parenting.As your daughter’s father you tried to both model correct behavior and direct her to a better way of addressing life.Within Michael Brown’s “political family”, his “father” was famously (or infamously) unable to cite a single example of a mistake he made during his first term.Sadly, I think Brown has learned the lessons of his “family” far too well.


  2. …to form a more perfect unionestablish justiceensure domestic tranquilityprovide for the common defensepromote the general welfaresecure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…Especially regarding this last phrase, the current administration seems to favor a narrow interpretation of the Constitution.


  3. Gregg, Your intent may not have been political, but by focusing only on the person associated with the Bush Administration it becomes a political statement, intended or not.The mayor of NO and Governor of LA, from what I read, have at least as much to answer for as Brown & FEMA. Can we be fair and demand accountability from all sides?


  4. Point taken, Walt.I wrote the post because I was reacting to the news story I read about Brown’s testimony before congress. It struck me as something I personally would not want to model my life after. I hope I would have reacted the same way if it had been a democrat.


  5. And I’ve read that Katrina was caused by a giant weather-cannon that was stolen from the russians by the japanese mafia.So, apparently, there’s lots of sides to take a fair and balanced share of the blame


  6. Your “morphing” father agrees with you on the point of Brown needing to apologize. I also agree with Walt on the point of fairness & balance. An apology should also be expected from the Gov of LA, the mayor of N.O. and the local N.O. politicos who have allegedly skimmed the public treasury while ignoring their infrastructure.


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