The way I see it, there are two camps: those who can and those who can't. And those who can, perhaps say it a little too readily. And those you can't are simply missing that apologetic gene as, more of than not, generations before them have trodden an unrepentant path. But just how important is it to be able to ask for forgiveness? How much is too much on the sorry-front? And where would be without the word 'sorry'?

It wasn't just the incident at school that made me think. Although I praised the concept of last night's homework being an apologetic letter to the teacher in question. Being able to craft a sincere and appropriate apology will stand them all in good stead. Whether or not they 'did it', is actually irrelevant.

Does it ever make anything better? One of the Smalls enquired. Yes, I think it does – if delivered with proper thought and ample qualification. A tail between the legs or relevant non-self-justification rationale can go a long way.

On the other hand, saying it too readily, too loudly or totally unnecessarily, is equally futile. London Underground is full of them. Terribly British over apologetic middle-aged one-journey-a-month travellers. SORRY they shrill when a commuter steps on their toe.

Lastly, up there on the high shelf sit those who lack no remorse whatsoever. The ignorant, the bad and the ugly. The man who mugged my dear friend. The terrorists. The pedophile. They don't feel the pain they cause. Perhaps because they are already feeling too much of their own pain? Either way, one day they'll be sorry.