Crucial Skills®

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Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue

What Happened: The Gift of Forgiveness

This letter was received in response to a question Joseph Grenny answered in the December 14, 2011 Crucial Skills Newsletter titled, “The Gift of Forgiveness.”

Dear Joseph,

A year ago, you addressed a concern by “Facilitating Forgiveness” about the communication difficulties a family was facing after a grandmother’s extended illness. The family described was my family, and that year, we canceled our family Christmas party.

Your advice included patience and changing stories. In the ensuing months, there was a gradual shift as my son, his cousins, my brother, and myself attempted to patiently do our part to mend the difficult situation.

We had a breakthrough in the summer when my nieces and nephews talked their aunt, the oldest in the story, into resuming her tradition of a 4th of July party (it was also canceled last year). That action led to the softening of some hearts and some progress in communication. When my youngest sister was diagnosed with colon cancer this fall, the rest of the resistance became, in Star Trek terms, futile. My mother’s gradual recovery, and the combination of service and prayers by the rest of the family on behalf of my sister, have done the seemingly impossible. We are having a Christmas party!

A year ago, you pointed out that hate cannot drive out hate and darkness cannot drive out darkness—only love and light can do that. Your gift from me this Christmas is knowing that your advice commending patience, love, and an appeal to what members of the family really wanted was the right path to forgiveness and restoration of family unity.

Thank you!

Editor’s Note: If you would like to share similar feedback about how the authors’ advice has helped you, please e-mail us at

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9 thoughts on “What Happened: The Gift of Forgiveness”

  1. Gail Awakuni

    Gift of forgiveness and kindness goes much further than punitive consequences.

    1. Valerie Dean

      Absolutely, There are different circumstances that may require punitive consequences. You have to be silent, think, and deal with each individually if it’s personal, or work related.

  2. lisa roy

    What a great skill to have learned not just in organizations, but in families, friends, strangers, ect. A must take course!

  3. Kathy

    A wonderful skill to practice in all situations.

    1. Valerie Dean

      Yes, we have situation in life

  4. Gilles

    Family is so important and to have family reunion like christmas is a very big gift to get.

  5. Valerie Dean

    Family Reunions are very important. Best gift of all to see Family

    1. Margie Hernandez

      Totally agree, that families are very important; our family has had a family camping reunion for the past 11 years. Forgiving is a must to have peace and move forward in any given situation.

  6. Jatan Patel

    Some incidents may cause sourness in relations but working them out is important. At the end family is family.

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