Learning how to forgive has changed my life, and forgiveness continues to transform my thinking. It has enabled me to let go of many mental burdens and unproductive expectations about myself and others. When the need arose, I was able to become caretaker to my father, who had not been the parent described in Hallmark cards. I learned to appreciate his strengths and set boundaries in order to deal with his weaknesses. Forgiveness has helped me be a more loving wife to my husband of 37 plus years, enhanced my ability to nurture and respect my stepson and two daughters, and facilitated lasting friendships. Learning to forgive has empowered me.
My PhD is in psychology, with an emphasis on research, and my dissertation was entitled “The Experience of Forgiveness in Adults with Different Sacred Belief Systems.” My Master’s degree is in education, and my Bachelor’s degree is in political science with a math minor. In addition to traditional social science and math courses, I have developed and taught world religions, wisdom traditions, civil discourse, critical thinking, humility, and of course forgiveness classes.
Forgiveness class content may focus on forgiving ourselves, others, God/fate, or all three. Forgiveness may or may not involve reconciliation, but it should always provide peace of mind and lead to moral, compassionate behavior. I have given presentations and classes on forgiveness to a diversity of groups – including a women’s cooperative in Kenya, students in a university leadership group, adult Sunday School classes, service organizations, and learning circles.
I have a Christian background, but world religions and perennial philosophies have fascinated me, and I have benefited from studying them. I have explored similarities in the wisdom of the ages that have transcended place and time. Scientists look for research findings that have been replicated, meaning repeated with the same results. Wisdom that lives on through millenniums and throughout the world has been an important area of research for me, especially in the realm of forgiveness.
My hope is that I may contribute to a better understanding of what it means to forgive, and help others experience the benefits and growth that come with genuine forgiveness.