Evidence That It Works
A study found that adolescents who were taught a forgiveness curriculum increased their hope and willingness to forgive, and decreased their anxiety and depression. Part of the curriculum focused on recognizing the inherent worth of all individuals, including offenders, along with the various reasons that may lead someone to commit an offense.
Why Does It Matter?
The increase in school shootings, bullying, violence, and discrimination experienced by children and adolescents underlines the need for education that helps students cope with trauma and deep hurt, both of which can result in anger, anxiety, and depression.
Education on forgiveness is particularly important given that angry and hurt children who cannot understand their feelings often inflict anger upon others, or deny it until it erupts. Teaching children what forgiveness is and is not as well as how to forgive can help create more positive and safe learning environments.