I don't know when I started making my kids parrot "I forgive you" as a response to an apology, but I know where I got the idea.

It came to me from a good friend, whose children are well-mannered and, before I got to know them, seemed perfect. However, the practice of saying "I forgive you" seems even more appropriate given that I now know her kids aren't any more perfect than mine.

I've questioned whether this is a good thing to do, whether it really matters or if it's just rote talking, a habit I'm forcing my kids to acquire.

But, you know what? I learned to pray before meals as a habit. Did it have meaning? Not when I was seven. Does it now? On the good days, yes. Is the habit still worth having? You betcha!

That brings me to a fabulous new book from Pauline Books & Media: I Forgive You: Love We Can Hear, Ask For, and Give, written by Nicole Lataif and illustrated by Katy Betz.

cover - I Forgive You

It's quaint and yet heartening in its presentation of forgiveness. I've spent YEARS learning about forgiveness and experiencing it and trying to offer it and offer it and offer it. And yet, in under 30 pages and probably less than 100 words, Lataif sums it up and Betz gives it a series of images.

It's a hardbound book with beautiful full-color illustrations that really accompany the text. It's the kind of book that you can read to your restless three-year-old boy and be interrupted about 20 times a page with, "That guy's MAD" and "Oooo, a SPIDER" and...well, you get the idea. Yet, you can also read it with your nine-year-old (who, by the way, can read it for herself and would never ever admit she liked you reading it) and see it spark some thoughts in her mind.

This is a book I'll be sharing with others, and I'm adding it to my "Godchildren Gift Ideas" list now.

Order I Forgive You and support with your purchase.

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Copyright 2014, Sarah Reinhard