One of the great challenges of our time is learning how to embrace a forgiveness and grace mindset in the social network. When people say that a post or a text is forever, it can be a very intimidating thought for young people who are bound to experience a snare of negativity in their cyber communications. Nobody is immune to the risks of being bullied or attacked or harassed, or engaging in such activity.
We are all prone to error.
So what I have learned about the human condition over the past 12 years of fieldwork, research, publishing, teaching and my own motherhood experience is this: we are indeed fault tolerant, even in the social network where cyber communications “live forever”.
The gospel truth about the God-given spirit of power and love and sound mind in every person is that we have the inherent capacity to forgive, which does not mean to forget or excuse. It does mean that we do not have to agree with any negative experience that has happened, and we can choose to change our mind and our ways in response. Without this understanding, this “science of forgiveness” which is proven by acts of faith – there is no hope. Without this hope, why wouldn’t our children believe that there is no reason to pursue a better life? Why won’t the negative experiences they are encountering with intensity in their cyber-social realms convince them that it’s “game over”?
Thankfully I get to hang out with really intelligent people, like Dr. Jessica Rodriguez, CEO of Gateway Corp and OnSite Strategies in Roseville dedicated to the treatment of mental health and addiction disorders. She was a featured speaker at the Core Connectivity 2017 Spring Symposium on Forgiveness as a Family Strategy in the Social Network. She offers very helpful and practical insights about forgiveness that can be put to work in your own family.
Rodriguez encourages us to consider forgiveness as love in action. It is our inherent capacity to accept what is happening, no matter how maddening and painful, and then advocate for change, to repent in the opposite direction; to redirect your mental energy towards thoughts that bring about peace and seek divine justice, not revenge. Forgiveness happens when we choose to offer compassion for ourselves and one another to recover from the offenses of hurtful acts, and then learn how to do better holding ourselves and one another accountable with mercy and hope. To that end, below are five steps Rodriguez offers parents and youth to effectively deal with the painful narratives that are memories living in the body and in the mind.
- First, remove your judgement, thoughts of condemnation, from the story of your childhood or your child’s life experiences. It’s not about being good or bad; it’s about being true to yourself.
- Secondly, confronting a painful narrative involves recognizing what forgiveness is not. It is not about forgetting, it is about forgiving ourselves and this is grace that gives us hope.
- Third, we must recognize what painful narratives produce: grudges, hatred, self-pity, etc. (So be firm that you will not agree with those emotions).
- Fourth, when you recognize the negative emotion that keeps these painful narratives alive, and replace judgment with grace then you no longer seek to punish people who hurt you.
- Fifth, you no longer identify with the past. Amen.
To learn more about Dr. Jessica Rodriguez’s work, go to: OnSite Strategies.
About: We are a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. Our mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God, the Creator of all humanity, grants every human being intelligence and free will to choose what to believe, and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device. To that end, ten percent of all proceeds are donated to prison ministries. Your donations are greatly appreciated. (Donations are payable to Banana Moments Foundation).
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and consultant on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber-powered world. She is a former technology executive trained in behavioral science at U.C. Berkeley, a mother of two grown sons, and an author of books for practical guidance on parenting, growing up and family life in the network culture. As a family and technology culture advisor, Joanna has appeared on 103.9FM The Fish, 710AM Keeping Faith in America, 1380AM The Answer, and Examiner.com.