After my years in the classroom, I’m still kind of a junkie for lesson plans, bulletin boards, and great ideas for the classroom. If I were teaching, I’d do this today.
“Take out a blank piece of paper. Lay it on your desk. See how perfect it is? Flat, straight, unmarked, undamaged.
Now crumple it up. And I mean, really smash it. Roll it in a ball. Sit on it. Step on it. Smash it flat.
Now peel it open again. Lay it flat on your desk. No, lay it flat. Like it was before. No wrinkles, no creases. Just like it was a minute ago.
That’s okay. Here’s what we’ll do.
Pick up the paper, look at it, and apologize.
Just tell the paper you’re sorry.
Tell it you didn’t mean to, it was an accident, you weren’t trying to hurt its feelings, and it really shouldn’t take things so personally. Just tell it you’re sorry.
That’ll make it perfect again. Try it. Go ahead. I’ll wait.”
The bad news is that sometimes an apology doesn’t fix we’ve broken with our words, our actions, and our decisions. Once it’s out, the damage is done.
(The good news is you can make some really cool art with crumply paper.)