When my empathy feels like it’s running low, I call up a few important memories. One makes me smile every time. It is my mother pulling the car over on the busy Boston Jamaica Way, turning on the car’s flashers, rummaging through our beach cooler, and handing over half of her tuna fish sandwich to a homeless guy. For several summers, he’d claimed a small spot to call his home along the Emerald Necklace, a loop of winding river, old trees, and beautiful parks surrounding the city. Whenever he was there, she’d make it her business that he had something to eat.
How do you show your empathy to your children so they will learn by example?
Empathy is most often a gentle, un-publicized, and ongoing gesture. Empathy isn’t a grand gesture. It is not a one time conspicuous donation or 20 hours that fills a community service requirement. It runs deep in our bones and soul. It is a mysterious mixture of warm feeling towards others paired with our remarkable brain skill of adopting another’s viewpoint, the proverbial walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.
Most often, empathy is nearly invisible, a deeply caring personal gift that we won’t ever see given from one person to another – but fortunately – here’s one that we can read about. It warms the heart during this winter’s cold and pulls us out from our often hurried, impersonal days. I hope you take a moment to read this New York Times article. And please share this post with family and friends.