Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World – Michele Borba
Tonight, in my small little village, Michele Borba spoke to a crowd of parents in our school auditorium. The crowd was larger than expected, and we all had high expectations, but I admit her message was more powerful than we expected. Michele Borba shared both the WHY and the HOW, and she did it in a way where we all wanted to go home and build this into us and our family.
I left that auditorium with 5 pages of notes, and a changed heart. I quickly realized that for my 8 year old daughter to be the best version of herself she needs to exhibit empathy. And I learned that the best way for her to be empathetic is for me to model it at home. But the most important thing I learned is that we can do this with baby steps, and the result of this effort is so critical to long term success that we all should be doing it. She ended the conversation with a 21-day challenge to take one step to improve ourselves and our children. 21 days is the time it takes to form a habit, and she promised us that these habits are critical to long-term success and happiness.
I personally need to purchase the book and review my notes weekly for a long time. However, I thought I would share three points that Michele Borba shared that really resonated with me.
#1 Moral Courage is the number one defense against bullying. Bullies do not pick on courageous people, but rather they target the week. So how do you portray courage? She shared when you talk to anyone always look at the color of their eyes! This simple action will force you to look at the speaker in the eyes, and give the body language of strength and confidence. Wow, what a simple and effective idea. And one I cannot wait to share with my daughter.
#2 Stop thinking of me and start thinking of we. It is common to ask children what they want to be when they grow up. Do you know what the most common answer is today? It is to be rich or to be famous. How sad is this…? In the past the answer would almost always be a service profession, such as doctor, firefighter, police officer, etc. How can we combat this? The best way is to have strong family values, and Michele shared the idea that families should ask their children what to do we want our family to be remembered for? And then to repeat that value so often that it becomes the families legacy.
#3 Show our kids the good stuff. So much of the news and the media is negative. As parents we need to show our kids the other side, we need to show them messages of hope. There are great stories all around us, find and highlight them. Watch positive movies as a family, read good literary fiction stories, and share news articles that focus on empathy and positive messages.
Amazingly, one of the key things I learned tonight was not discussed at all. I realized that our daughter is so kind, so loving, and so generous; and that she obviously learned this from someone. To be honest, my wife deserves all the credit. She is such an amazing mom and she always builds us up. It is so easy to take this for granted, but Michele made me realize how critical this is, and how thankful I should be.
I have no idea what your situation is, but I hope it is a good one. Regardless, we all have room for improvement, and the world can definitely use more empathetic and caring people. I will be purchasing her book, UnSelfie – Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World, and I will use it to improve me, and hopefully everyone I interact with. Once I read this I will post my thoughts in my reading session, but if the book is anything like her presentation, I feel confident I will enjoy it and recommend it to everyone.
I hope that you and your family can be a light in your neighborhood. If you read this book, or have any comments, please share. I look forward to using what I learned and slowing improving myself and raising a daughter who can thrive in today’s harsh world.
Wishing you and your family the best,