“Uri, I’m sorry that I made you cry.”

I took the cue from Iva, who told me what came of the little boy after I had left and driven the car without him to do some errands. He had grown a fondness of car brands, and so he loved tagging along whenever I went driving just to look at cars.

Uri gets ecstatic whenever he sees rare car brands like this Ferrari he spotted at the supermarket parking, that he even forgets to smile for a picture.

I think he didn’t expect my apology because his face literally lit up when I spoke to him. Besides, he knew what he had previously done – didn’t do, actually – that had cost him his car ride. But I did not expect what he said in return as well: “Daddy, I like the way you said sorry – that there was no ‘but’.”

It was all that he had to say to make me realize that it was time again for another adult lesson from the kids.

But, just like Daddy, the little boy just had to say more than what should have been necessary. “I’m not talking about ‘the butt’ (pointing to his own), I mean it was good that you said sorry without saying ‘but’.”

By now, his remark had been amplified with recent conversations with the kids that kept popping in my head: “I’m sorry that I raised my voice, but you weren’t focusing on your eating”; “I’m sorry that I got mad, but you weren’t listening.” “Kids, I’m sorry for this and that, but this and that. Clearly, I had been making apologies that were defensive and insincere. I had been lecturing and disguising them as apologies. 

And I could have easily blurted out another lame sorry-but remark in this instance! Uri didn’t do something that I had been telling him to do a number of times already, which prompted me to punish him and not take him riding with me in the car , which prompted him to feel bad and cry, which prompted me to say sorry for unintentionally causing his sobbing. I know now how thankful I ought to be that I hadn’t said more.

Unable to add anything else, I got help from Mommy who voiced from the kitchen the perfect remark to close out our life lesson: “Daddy’s learning.”

Yes, Daddy’s learning, even from a tender heart as yours, little boy.