Broken Fence, Broken Forgiveness

I tried to teach my son a life lesson but ended up freaked out instead. Here’s what I’d like to say to the scary man who treated us like dirt.

Dear Angry Man who rejected my broken-fence apology,

Thank you for keeping me from teaching my 6-year-old a valuable lesson.

I brought him to your house, despite his serious anxiety, to fess up and apologize for accidently knocking over a section of your decrepit cement-slab fence. He was scared to death as we waited on your porch for you to answer your door.

We told you he bumped into the fence a couple of weeks ago and part of it fell to the ground.

But you didn’t believe us. Instead of allowing us to apologize and help you fix the fence, you got angry and shouted at us to break the whole thing down. You snapped at me telling me you didn’t think he was the one who did it.

Do you seriously think I was the one who broke it? Then I blamed my child?

Anyone who has ever walked by your fence will agree that it looks so unstable that if someone whistled while walking by it would topple over.

Other sections of the same fence are missing. Surely he is not the only one to bump one loose.

I hesitated to make him knock on your door and admit to breaking the fence. But I wanted to teach him that he needs to admit to his mistakes and make them right whenever possible. We stopped by your house two times before to talk to you and you were not home.

Now I kind of wish we never talked to you.

Then again now that I think about it, maybe you did help me teach my son a lesson or two, or even three.

1. How not to be a complete jerk if someone accidently damages some of your property.

2. How to graciously accept an apology and an offer to help.

3. How to forgive.

None of those were the lessons I intended, but now they seem even more important than the one I set out to teach.

I can’t help what happened, but I was willing to pay to fix the fence. Now maybe you’ll have to do what you suggested to us and, “break the whole thing down.”


A tired, busy mother who is trying her best to teach her children manners


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Elise
    May 30, 2013 @ 14:13:05

    Wow. Just wow. Good job turning that to be as good as it can be.


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