In Reply to: Re: Apology posted by Jo Anne on September 27, 2007 at 11:12:48:
[This post was re-submitted by the author with minor grammatical errors corrected]
Yes, what your parents are doing is a first -- it is without precedent. Nothing of this magnitude has ever happened -- people with such notoriety have never graced these boards. It is a good thing they are doing, and I do want to encourage them. At the same time you can expect them to be scrutinized.
There was no "time frame." Don't rewrite the facts. It was a question of the mysterious testing of the waters for weeks, and their ability to find the time to write lengthy posts but yet wait on an apology while they were calculating whether or not it is "worth it."
And yes, it is about speaking from their hearts, that's why there seems to be something horribly deficient in their apology. All those generalities.
What is in their "heart" (which is another loaded Family term I prefer to get away from) may be simply that they are not in the place yet where they even understand what is needed -- (see posts by "CB" and "Wondering"). They speak in terms which resemble open-heart reports to shepherds rather than like people who've detoxed and fully understand the concept if responsibility, crime and punishment in society at large. It may be like "excog" suggested: they are still in a fog. Perhaps they need a longer time out to see things clearer.
It is also a fact that it is self-defeating once people have to point out to them what an apology should constitute, and teach them what to say.
"I wasn't aware there was a wrong and right way."
Of course there is! Apologies are social rituals with rules. Apparently you didn't read the mechanics of it all in my "What is an apology" post? The audience being apologized to has a right to decide if the apology is sincere or not.
Examples of the wrong way were given by posters: a mere "oh that's in the past now" won't do -- and your parents' apology is very much along those lines.
Motive is important -- "darn, our past caught up with us, we want to clear our names, ooops to do that we need to apologize, guess we better do that then" will not do.
As for the right way, the possibilities are limitless -- a person who has come to the correct realizations of how responsible they really are/were will have the "right" things to say. One thing they won't be full of is generalities -- like your parents are.
All this to say, I believe your parents want to do right but don't know how. I don't doubt their sincerity there. What I do see though, is where they are not at, yet. CB and Wondering have already put it into words much better than me.