Monthly Archives: October 2018

Empathy and How to Cultivate It: My notes from listening to Michele Borba

Michele Borba was one of the keynote speakers at a conference I attended this week. She is passionate, dynamic, and empowering. If you ever have the chance to hear her speak, do it!

Anyway, so much info so I’m just going to make a list of highlights that I wrote down, and hopefully you are able to glean some key information from it. Any statistics or definitions came from her presentation and can be found in her book or on her website. She talked so fast, it was tough to note sources. My thoughts will be added in italics.

  • 1 in 5 teens will have a mental health disorder wow!
  • “Unless parents realize it (empathy) can be cultivated, it will become dormant” parents, guardians, caregivers…and it can be cultivated at ANY age
  • Around the year 2000, empathy decreased 40%. Lack of empathy creates exclusion and polarization which is what we are already seeing in society, and if you think it’s no coincidence that this coincided with the smart phone and screens everywhere, you’re not alone
  • The average middle school kid is more comfortable texting than talking to another person
  • Some easy and specific suggestions and her list of habits to use: face to face contact, read picture books to your kids that have a moral dilemma, weave in the 9 essential empathy habits listed here:for more detailed information, I encourage you to buy her book Unselfie
  • “Empathy is transformational. Empathy is a teaching tool” it doesn’t cost a dime and can change the culture of the classroom
  • 66% of kids say we (adults) are too plugged in.
  • A person learns new skills best by doing it, seeing it modeled, not by telling it.
  • “You change the culture with the trickle down effect” she told a powerful story about a teen who changed the culture at his school just by holding the door open in the morning and greeting everyone
  • “Look for the Helpers” Fred Rogers. She says a statement like this, “Galvanizes the good. Share the good with kids everyday.”
  • “What would’ve made the difference?” She responds by sharing lyrics to the Cheers tv show theme song and what happened next was moving beyond words

In closing, you can make a difference.

More to come from the workshop she did following this presentation!

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A beautiful perspective…

Sometimes television catches me by surprise. I enjoy tv and find it to be an effective escape at times. I was watching Grey’s Anatomy this evening and one of the characters sought some advice from an older wiser woman, a mom. She was asking about a teen that she was mentoring, sponsoring, sort of parenting. The woman was struggling with her role for this teen, and the older woman says,

“You’re building a boat…They’re going to sail away from us…it’s inevitable. Our job is to build a boat strong enough that when they decide to, they can get back to us safely.”

The boat is your relationship with your child, or your charge in the case of the character. With a strong relationship to come back to, your child will feel open to new experiences and know the freedom of being their own person.

There’s also a really wonderful children’s book that shows how toddlers look for their independence while looking back to their safety net, their anchor, their mom or whatever. And it reminds us how important it is for our kids to feel safe in order to take risks and try new things!

Check it out here!

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