Emmett, 5, has been a handful lately. He has been stubborn and ornery and uncooperative. He has been fighting with his brother and refusing to help out around the house. We think it is a phase of establishing independence, but it has been a trial for all of us sometimes. Yesterday, I told him that he was behaving badly and that if he didn't stop he would go to his room without dinner. He stopped.
But later, during dinner, he said
"Mom, I feel sad."
"Why?" I asked.
"Because I have been acting bad. I feel sad about it."
My parents, who were eating with us, just about dropped their forks.
"Emmett, you can apologize, and I will forgive you. That is what we do. We forgive each other. Don't feel sad about it anymore. You are forgiven."
Later, out of earshot of everyone else, I whispered, "Emmett, God forgives you, too. He loves you no matter what."
This morning at breakfast, Emmett told me that he had two more things to tell me. He lied about how much candy he had at Halloween. Twice. (Because he wanted some of his brother's candy.)
"Are you sorry?" "yes."
"Did you apologize to Noah?" "yes."
"Then you are forgiven for that, too."
At which point I reminded him about the Lord's prayer, and the part about forgiving each other, just like God forgives us.
I believe my son has just made his first confession...
two weeks before his baptism.