Saying “I’m Sorry”: Is It Ever Enough? (VIDEO)

It seems as though everyone has been saying, “I’m sorry” for something recently. For Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, it was Bridgegate when he said “I’m sorry” for what appears to have been politically motivated lane closures on the George Washington Bridge that in turn created gridlock for a small New Jersey town. As he apologized, Governor Christie announced he had fired a top aide and severed ties with his campaign chief for their roles in the scandal.

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman said apologized to the family of Kenneth Bae, an American citizen who has been imprisoned in North Korea for over a year. Bae was sentenced to 15 years hard labor on charges of attempting to topple the government. During Rodman’s angry outburst on CNN, he seemed to suggest that Bae did something wrong. Take a look at the video. His tirade starts around 4:50.


In his apology, Rodman said he was stressed out and had been drinking. The family of Kenneth Bae said  that they accepted Rodman’s apology for his “outrageous” remarks, but said they hoped his comments “have not further endangered” Bae.

Related: Good Enough Mother: How I Hit The Brink – And Found My Way Back!

We started the first week after the holidays by talking about Jay Mohr’s apology to Alyssa Milano for publicly fat-shaming her.

But is saying “I’m sorry” enough? As a teacher, I am always on the lookout for new ways to demonstrate to my students about the impact their actions and words can have on others. When you have a roomful of 5-year-olds this isn’t always the easiest of tasks. A teacher in New York  came up with a simple, yet powerful way to convey this message.

Every student is given a plain white piece of paper. They are told to crumple it, stomp on it, and yell at it, but not to rip it. Next, she tells the students to flatten the paper on the top of their desks, making it as smooth and perfect as they can. Then, they are to apologize to the paper.

Creative Commons/John Ott

Creative Commons/John Ott

They are then given a moment to examine their paper. The students are asked, “Even though you said you were sorry and did everything in your power to fix the paper, were you really able to restore it and make everything that just happened disappear?” Through this simple lesson, even the youngest of minds are able to see firsthand that even though they were sorry and tried to smooth things over, the results of their actions will always still be there. With a plain white piece of paper, the children take away one of the most important lessons a person can learn in life.

Related: Ask Rene: My Wife Gave Her Brother Money Without Telling Me! Now What?

I believe that Governor Christie, Dennis Rodman, and even Jay Mohr truly were sorry for the actions that preceded each of their heartfelt apologizes. And as a teacher and a mother, I will continue to teach my own students and children to say “I’m sorry” when warranted and more importantly, to have the capacity to use even three more powerful words, “I forgive you.” But the question still remains, is uttering the words “I’m sorry” ever really enough?

Gayle Feldman Turner

Mom to 5, Grammy to 4, Gayle considers herself an ordinary person living a most extraordinary life. The owner and co-founder of the Disney Gals website, her great passion in life is children. When not in her kindergarten classroom or directing her latest musical production, you’ll find her blogging, planning her next great Disney adventure, or following her youngest son as he follows his dreams of dancing.