Empathy

28 Oct

In a recent conversation about raising children with my publisher, Nance Rosen, I mentioned that I believed the greatest gift that we could teach our children was empathy. The ability to mentally and emotionally put one’s self in another’s situation to gain a greater understanding of what that person is going through. She agreed.

If you’ve read my book Overpowering Fear – Defeating the #1 Challenge in Sales and Life then you’re probably aware that I admitted that I was not as good a father as I should have been, or as I could have been.  If you are waiting for your copy to arrive from Amazon or Barnes & Noble then you probably have not read my dedication:

“To my beautiful daughters Melissa and Jennifer. When you were growing up I wasn’t always there for you. And nothing I could say or do can change that. But today I stand in awe of the incredible wives, mothers and good citizens you have become. And what I want you to know is that I am so very proud to be your Dad. To both of you I dedicate this book.”

Now don’t get me wrong. I was not as great a father as I thought I was, but I was not as bad a father as my daughters may have thought I was. I was like most parents of my generation. I modeled myself after my father. I know he loved me but he was almost never there for me, even when he was there. And, remember, children do not come with an instruction manual. We do the best that we can and hope for the best.

But as you can see in my book dedication I believe that the girl’s mom and I did succeed in teaching our daughters empathy. For how else could I stand in awe of the incredible wives, mothers and good citizens they have become? My daughters believe in the goodness of all people. They can easily put themselves in another’s shoes and feel what others are feeling, and going through in their lives. With empathy comes understanding. And with understanding comes peace.

So, before it’s too late, give your children the greatest gift you can. Teach them to be empathetic. To feel empathy means that you are endlessly connected to everyone on the planet. What could be greater than that?

Love,

Michael

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