Just Flush It Away!
Begin this exercise by discussing forgiveness and apologies. Find an example from your own life that you can share of when you held a grudge and finally let it go or a time when you felt you needed to ask for forgiveness yourself. Even more powerful is asking another family member for forgiveness for a recent (or not so recent) offense. Explain that we have all done things that we are not proud of and that there are grudges that we hold, both small and sometimes large. Distribute a length of toilet paper to each family member. Each one is to write down past grievances that they have with other family members. A magic marker is the easiest to write with – just make sure there is scrap paper underneath the toilet paper to catch anything that may go through. It’s best if you can choose a word or short phrase that sums up the event rather than a paragraph detailing the hurt. Each person can have some private space in which to write. Younger, non-writing family members may draw a picture of the person they are forgiving. Remind everyone that they are writing something they are choosing to forgive and forget. When everyone is done, have them crumple up the toilet paper in their hand and everyone has a turn at flushing it down the toilet. You can choose to do it all in one flush (if it will fit) or each person can take a turn individually. Be respectful if someone wishes to keep what they have written private.
You can process the activity with these questions:
- Have you ever written on toilet paper before? Was it difficult?
- How do you feel now that you have flushed away a grudge?
- Do you see yourself doing this again in the future?
- Do you think that the next time something similar happens you can forgive more quickly?