In our family, we have sorry rules.

Sounds up tight, I know, but wanted ‘sorry’ to be meaningful and helpful, not flippant and reactive. Sorry was being said too easily without thought and was quickly becoming meaningless. The sorry rules are simple and I stole them from Cuppacocoa parenting blog about A better way to say sorry. They involve four parts.

I am sorry becausewhat action did you do wrong

This was bad becausewhy was it wrong? What were the consequences?

In the future I willwhat am I going to do next time this situation arises.

(It is important this is a positive strategy rather than an avoidance of a negative behaviour.)

Will you forgive me?This draws a line under the event and allows reconciliation.

Now there is another word that I think is being used with increasing frequency and reduced meaning.


There are many people I find inspirational. People that I recognise characteristics and behaviour in that I then want to emulate and be more like. But sometimes people say they are inspired by folk who they simple don’t know anything about.

The woman in the supermarket who says I’m inspirational simply because I am pushing a child in a wheelchair. Well, she’s wrong. I’m so not inspirational for loving and parenting a remarkable boy. What she is feeling is pity, dressed up in woolly socks and a feather boa.

When you think someone is inspirational it is because you see them and recognise an attribute in them that makes you want to live differently.

So, I was thinking of applying some ‘Inspirational rules’. They go like this.

You inspire me byWhat can you see?

This is inspiring becauseWhat is the consequence of this?

In the future I want tohow are you going to change your behaviour, your life as a result of this inspirational encounter?

Thank you for inspiring me!

For example…

My mum, Jan.

Mum inspires me by the way she sees a need in other people’s situations and does something tangible about it.

This is inspiring because her servant heart isn’t simply words but lived and felt by those around her.

In the future I want to impact the lives of others with practical love.

Thanks for inspiring me Mum.


 My son’s friend, Ellie (I’ve written about her before here)

Ellie inspires me by the way she sees the best in people and isn’t distracted by disabilities.

This is inspiring because she knows and demonstrates the value and worth in everyone. Always taking patience and time to connect and engage with people.

In the future I want to look beyond what I see and show the value and worth of everyone I meet.

Thanks for inspiring me Ellie.


My Grandma Hessie.

Grandma Hessie inspired me by the way she loved her family and lived a life of faith. At night, when I stayed at her flat I would hear all of our names mumbled under her breath as she diligently and lovingly prayed for us.

This inspires me to love my family well and pray diligently.

In the future I want to remember my loved ones in prayer and show my love and value for my wider family; recognising our history and connection.

Want to know if something is inspiring?

Here is the inspirational test.


Are you left feeling warm, fuzzy and slightly sorry for the life of the person you are talking about?


Can you articulate why that person inspires you and how you want to live differently as a result?


Now I want to hear you apply the inspiration rules.

Who inspires you and why? (It can’t be me)


Photos of  S and Ellie permission and thanks to Nicola Parry Photography