Politics

Senate staffers taught how to say ‘I am sorry, I apologize, I messed up’

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

A class offered this week coached Senate staffers about how to forgive and apologize.

Presented by the Senate Employee Assistance Program, Senate staffers were able to partake in the webinar class on forgiving Monday.

A source familiar with the presentation revealed that the webinar featured slides focused on understanding forgiveness, the health benefits of forgiving and how to forgive.

The webinar further looked at the “characteristics of forgiving people” — namely that they are “happier,” “resilient,” “calm,” “empathetic” and “flexible,” according to the source.

On how to actually apologize the webinar slideshow advised to do so “promptly,” and to use words such as “I am sorry,” “I apologize” and “I messed up.” It also encouraged the wrongdoer to offer ways to change behavior for improvement and to identify the specific offense.

On what not to do in an apology, the webinar offered additional advice, explaining not to use phrases such as “I was just kidding,” or “I couldn’t help it” or “It just happened.”

The webinar was offered by LifeCare a self-described “leader in the Employee Productivity & Loyalty industry.”

The Daily Caller reported late last month that Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn pointed to such classes as part of the waste that goes on in the legislative branch.

In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers, Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance W. Gainer and the House Chief Administrative Officer, Coburn noted that the Senate and House have sponsored training sessions that “frequently have little to do with legislation” for Congressional staff, including:

- A class to help staffers socially titled “Small Talk: Breaking the Ice in Social Situations”; and

- A lifestyle class designed to help staffers titled “Lighten Up! Spring Cleaning for your Body and Your Life,” where staffers can learn about healthy eating and recipes to be “balanced, calm and focused and several practices that will support you in releasing the old and inviting in the new.”

Coburn added that “Since Sequestration was implemented, both the House and Senate have continued to hold classes for staffers that have little if anything to do with legislating,” also including:

- From Stress to Relaxation to help staffers with “exhaustion and lack of clarity” (Senate)

- Your Credit Score – Friend or Foe (House)

- Choose Your Attitude: Attitude is Everything (Senate)

- What’s My Communication Style? (Senate)

- Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep (Senate) 

Next Monday, Senate staffers will also have the opportunity to spend up to three hours learning how to address personal finance issues with a “Financial Planning Day,” which is sponsored by the Senate Office of Education and Training.

“Certified financial planner professionals will be on hand to answer your questions regarding financial planning. Meet individually with a planner to discuss ways to secure your financial future. Take advantage of this great opportunity!” a flyer about the event reads.

The Senate Sergeant at Arms, who oversees the programs, did not respond to ThDC’s requests for cost estimates of these classes. LifeCare did not respond to requests for comment.

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