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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

The ideas expressed in this article are based on the skills and principles taught in Crucial Conversations. Learn more about Crucial Conversations

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4 thoughts on “What Happened: The Gift of Forgiveness

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

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

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