Perspective and Empathy

Soleil and her super awesome friend auditioned and were accepted for their school talent show.


In 6th Grade every important thing that occurs is the most important thing that could occur, and it’s usually the first time said important thing has occurred. A favorite law professor put it like this, “You may have 100 cases, but for your client, this may be the only case they ever have, and it is all important for that reason.” As adults we’ve had 100 experiences of extreme elation or disappointment, while my 6th Grader has this most important one.

Regardless of the result of their audition, two things I could offer them will help them become Linchpins, or standouts, and those are perspective and empathy.

It’s far easier and more enjoyable to deal with this scenario, elation, than disappointment. A hearty congratulations and hug, with a reminder to be empathetic to those not having the same experience are easy enough to give.  It’s the disappointment that is so easy to shrug off as an adult dealing with a young person.

To really empathize with my children, I go back to that feeling at THAT time in my life. I go back to the moment I found out I did not make show choir.  I tell them I understand their pain with my stories, my reactions, my sour grapes, my pain, so that they know I feel it with them. That solidarity enables them to borrow my perspective until they’ve built more of their own resiliency.

It also leads me to wonder, what will I do when they’ve an experience to which I’m unable to relate so naturally?

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