I recently asked a wise friend a question: How do we ensure that we are raising good human beings?
The wise friend responded with another question: What do we mean by a good human being?
We decided to define our goal of ‘good human being’ as:
- A person who is trying and improving, but not perfect
- A thoughtful person
- A good decision-maker
- A caring and unselfish person
- A self-aware person who recognizes personal areas of weakness (humble)
Next came the trickier part – figuring out how to raise and shape a young person with these traits.
We settled on the ‘E’s of Love and Logic. Example, Experience and Empathy.
We decided that Example was a pretty tough one. It means we have to behave well – at least in front of our kids. Kidding aside, it means we need to strive to set examples of caring, thoughtfulness and the other traits listed above ALL THE TIME because 1) If we only fake it in front of the kids, we will inevitably slip up and 2) Kids will pick up on the subtle signals if we are not sincere.
The good news was that the second E, Experience was much easier – because it involves making mistakes and providing life lessons through the consequences of those mistakes. We want kids making affordable mistakes and we also want them watching us learn and recover from our mess-ups.
The final E stands for Empathy. At Love and Logic, we believe sincere empathy is the foundation for our other skills. Putting forth a model of genuine empathy may be the greatest thing we can do toward raising great humans. Kids who develop empathy will be less likely to hurt or take advantage of others. Empathy helps us treat others with more kindness and consideration.
So, it’s simple (not easy). By being intentional about Example, Experience and Empathy, we can have a tremendous impact on the young people in our lives. We believe these efforts will pay off in many ways – some we will see and some we may not even see.
We have a pretty fun new podcast in which we discuss these ideas. Check it out!
Thanks for reading!