Say You’re Sorry by Val Smalkin on Tuneful Tuesday

Today’s lovely song comes from member Val Smalkin of Silly Goose and Val.

SG & Val
Silly Goose and Val

To tell the truth I wrote the melody for Say Your Sorry in 1991…but then it was a song called Hide ‘n’ Seek from Chadwick Sings: A Little Bay Music, which I wrote to accompany Priscilla Cummings sweet book Chadwick the Crab. Then I borrowed the melody for a song called Share Your Treasure, and now finally it has morphed into Say You’re Sorry. This year, 2015, I was looking for songs to for a children’s Yom Kippur (the day of atonement) program and this came to me as the perfect song.

It is important, I think, to offer singable songs to children, and this one fits the bill. I taught the audience the second part: I’ll say, “Sorry,” when I know I’m wrong/ I’ll say, “Sorry,” then we’ll get along! And they immediately sang it against a recording of the lead part. Then I divided the children into two groups. One half sang, “I’ll say, ‘Sorry,’ when I know I’m wrong;” and the other half responded, “You’ll say, ‘Sorry,’ then we’ll get along!” This was particularly appropriate because in the Jewish tradition you are required to apologize three times when you have done wrong, and once you make your three heartfelt and sincere apologies the other person must forgive you. Now, that is a rule I can live by!

I wrote several alternative chord progressions in the sheet music, but basically you can keep a C in the base all the way through, and play the following series (each chord lasts 2 beats)with your right hand: ||:C, Dm, Em, Dm:||



  1. Lovely song! But I have a question: why does the forgiver have to make the guilty one say sorry three times???? I think once is enough. Beyond that it sounds like they have to grovel…

    Val et al, you may be interested in a song I wrote too called “Sandbox” based on an essay in the book “All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. Let me know if you want the lyrics and/or tune. But one line in the chorus says: “Say you’re sorry when you hurt someone somewhere.”

    Thanks for sharing your song!

    1. Ah! Patricia…great question. Of course, the person transgressed can forgive after the first apology and that, apparently is what you would do. Or maybe, if the person is particularly hurt, they might need a second apology for a change of heart, or even hold out until the third. BUT, the beauty of this law is that if the person who was hurt does not forgive on the third apology, the problem becomes his or her own. To apologize sincerely is healthy; to hold on to hurt and remain unforgiving after three apologies, is unhealthy. It’s a sort of shifting of the burden from the transgressor to the transgressee. Of course, there are many variables depending upon what the wrong was, and this is a simplification of Jewish law, but I think it’s a pretty good general yardstick!

      1. PS. Patricia! I’d love to have the “Sandbox” song!

  2. Wow, this message has been lost. It is probably one of the clearest ones that my mother taught us, and also to forgive, so I like the “then we’ll get along” part! As a kindergarten teacher I did not require the kids to say I’m sorry while they were still angry, but I did teach them to own their responsibility by saying, “I won’t do that again,” while they were still upset, so the other one could feel safe with their classmate. I felt if they had to say “I’m sorry” too soon, then what they were really meaning was, “I’m sorry that you’re unhappy with me” not “I’m sorry that I did or said that.” But I like the gentle nature of this song, not reprimanding, just owning the mistake and showing a way through to better times! I will be doing another Curious Giraffe Show on navigating the ins and outs of friendship. If this song seems to fit at the time, would I have your permission to use it? The show is on our local community TV network.

    1. Sure! Send me a link!

      1. I found your show…it’s very sweet. I only ask that you mention that it was written by “Val Smalkin,” a ventriloquist friend who performs as Silly Goose & Val. That’s all. Okay?


  3. I really like this Val, especially the reference to words and actions, as it encourages reflection. I also like the forgiveness part. Thanks for posting!

    1. I found your show…it’s very sweet. I only ask that you mention that it was written by “Val Smalkin,” a ventriloquist friend, who performs as Silly Goose & Val. That’s all. Okay?


    2. Thank you Jenny. That means a lot coming from you!

  4. Love the clarity of the message – and it’s a very calming song as well. Thank you!

Comments are closed.