The Power of Forgiveness

Abe Stark Primary School (PS)346’s administration and staff work throughout the year to both educate students and teach them about kindness. There are times when we disagree and sometimes we get angry, but harboring anger is harmful and the staff teaches students to forgive and to support one another. In light of these teachings, the school hosted Breaking the Cycle, a worldwide assembly session created in 1999 after the Columbine High School shooting, featuring personal stories from individuals who have overcome conflict through forgiveness.

On October 15th, PS 346’s fifth graders and middle school students from Frederick Douglass Academy VIII (FDA VIII) gathered in PS 346’s auditorium for an hour of heartfelt stories based on the theme of forgiveness. The founder of Breaking the Cycle, Ian Winter created this program over 20 years ago, and has reached out to thousands of students about nonviolent conflict resolution through forgiveness. Upon introducing the speakers, he emphasized that each student is special in their own way and everyone has the ability to be kind and forgive.

Guest speakers gave personal accounts of where forgiveness helped them persevered.

Ten-year-old, Nathaniel Bedward listened closely to the entire assembly, and he animatedly asked, “How can we stop violence, so that nobody gets hurt?”

One of the speakers replied that by being kind and speaking out when someone is doing something wrong, like bullying, is a start. He also emphasized that students should feel comfortable telling their teachers, police officers, and parents/guardians whenever something is wrong.

Photos by Amanda Moses