23 September 2016
When reading Elizabeth Spelman’s book Repair, insight is given to the readers to show that repair, restoration, reconciliation, preservation, conservation, replication, or reconstruction are just a necessary part of life even though they may be detrimental to the object or person receiving the mending.This book made the reader think deeper into his or her own life about how he or she repairs or fixes things. I took many different points away from Spelman. I took away from this book that there are different types of repair, “it’s about the survival of the old”, that it is “more of an art than a science, derivative of what already exists.” But, I also realized that not all things are meant to be fixed, apologies need to be meaningful to be accepted, and saying “I’m sorry” after every small incident happens is not significant. Repair is confusing for many to handle due to the fact that humans sometimes fix things that shouldn’t be fixed and don’t fix things that are in need of being repaired.
Humans learn how to apologize at a young age. It all starts with when kids were first scolded by their parents for doing something wrong. From then on, people have to say sorry for the ongoing wrongdoings that occur throughout someone’s life. Spelman says,
To apologize to someone is to say that there is harm worth attending to, a relationship worth mending, a rule worth honoring, a community worth preserving. (Spelman 83)
Realizing that there is an apology needed to help tend to the “harm” a person makes causes repair to occur. For example, when my younger sister and I were little we used to collect fireflies during the nights of summer. One night, we could not find any fireflies out, but that did not stop us from hunting for them. After about thirty minutes of searching, my little sister finally found one and put it into a little jar that we have specifically for those fire flies. One wasn’t enough for her, so she went out looking for more, but I became too fatigued and did not want to look anymore. Instead, I started playing with the one firefly that she caught and accidentally let it go. When my sister came back, she was upset she could not find anymore but was excited to play with the single one she caught earlier. She noticed the firefly was no longer there and instantly grew angry at me because she realized I set the little guy free. She ran inside with an upset look on her face. I felt terrible for letting her little creature go, so I ran inside after her and sincerely apologized to her telling her I would catch her some tomorrow night instead. My apology took awhile to gain its acceptance, but eventually that night she told me it was okay and also apologized for getting so upset with me. This example explains the interaction of an apology that needs sincerity for the pain and sadness to go away. Not only are apologies important, but the way you say you’re apology has a lot of impact on the outcome of a situation.
The emotions of apologizers are crucial to the genuineness of the apology. (Spelman 84)
If my apology to my sister was nonexistent or not meaningful, I might as well not have apologized. It would have put a strain on my relationship with my sister. Even though I did something so tiny to make her upset, it still affected her more than I thought it would. Even though we went firefly hunting all of the time during the summer, that single firefly brought her so much happiness and positivity, and I took that away from her. Once that processed through my mind, I had to give the most wholehearted apology explaining to her that it wasn’t my intent to make her so upset. The apology that I gave her came from the bottom of my heart convincing her that I was wrong for what I did. For her to accept the apology she had to realize that I was actually sorry.
But, we have seen the examples of when repairing is not the right choice for the repairer or could cause some danger to the person who was trying to fix what was broken. Spelman briefly mentions how that there are risks to heeling problems and brokenness. She says,
Repair can be dangerous work. It can severely hurt the repairer, and it can destroy rather than fix the object meant to be mended. (Spelman 42)
The author brings some realization to the fact that improvement at the wrong time or to the wrong person can become counterproductive. For example, this book has talked a lot about fixing automobiles in order to make them work again or look exactly like the car that was there in the first place. But, if the person working on the car is not skilled enough to deal with the dangerous activity at hand, there is a possibility that him or her could become injured due to a slip up. In this case, the person who was trying to fix up the car back into good shape is now wounded. The same thing can occur with a person; they too can be hurt in the process of repairing.
We read an example about a girl named Jackie who became pregnant by her boyfriend and was seeking help from her parents. If Jackie was receiving help from her parents but was not being respectful and thankful for her parents help, Jackie’s parents might get frustrated with her causing them to feel the need to back off. Say they brought her to a doctor, but she wanted to go to a different doctor that her friend recommended. Jackie may start to become aggressive with her parents about the decisions they were making for her. She may even start to become upset with her mom causing her mom to get annoyed. This is an important example of how the repairer can be hurt in the process of trying to help. In this instance, Jackie’s parents can become very upset with her and may not want to help her anymore with the original problem at hand. This causes a “crack” within the relationship between Jackie and her parents.
It is a part of life to be broken down as well as become worn and torn. Repairing a person is the only option to over come these problems, but humans have to take caution in how they go about fixing something. Sometimes it can be too hard for the person that is just trying to help causing more damage to be done then what was started with.