Monthly Archives: October 2017

Children, parents, mirrors

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One morning, couple of weeks ago I was about to enter a coffee shop next to my hotel for a dose of ristretto. The door opened suddenly and an angry woman pushed a girl out. A paper cup was on the floor. Coffee was spilled around. A taxi was in front. The lady was in a hurry. The girl looked ashamed, eyes on her hand. The door of the taxi slammed and the scene disappeared around the corner. All this – in 30 seconds.

I thought to my self : 30 seconds to start a day. To spend with your child ahead of a busy day for both… The coffee was definitely not for the child. Although she seemed to have been put in charge of it.

There is no judgement here. It was a reminder to self that as parents we need to maintain our awareness that children mirror our behaviour. Studies and research show it extensively for the still skeptical ones.

If we are in a hurry and angry and things start falling, it’s us, the adults. 

If we prioritise the concern over a spilled coffee instead of a burned finger, we, adults, set an example.

If we start the day with a smile and a belief that we have time for everything, it’s us, the adults. 

If we show concern over the child’s concerns, we set an example as a grown-up human to a growing up human.

A clean mirror gives a clear image. Up to us, adults, to keep it clean.

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The other side of empathy

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I have a confession to make. I feel and I see more than others usually do. And it’s not easy staying grounded and open to others. I learned that key is to be discerning, so that my empathy does not attract people who drain my energy.

Empathy, etymologically, comes from the Greek word pathos, “passion” or “suffering”.  I learned from Wikipedia that the term was adapted by Hermann Lotze and Robert Vischer to create the German word Einfühlung (“feeling into”), which was translated by Edward B. Titchener into the English term empathy. 

Everytime I feel into someone’s feelings, I pay an emotional price. Empathy can cause emotional overwhelm, research shows. I also learned that the empathy-receiver might not be on the net benefits side either. Here is a story:

Some time ago, a colleague struggling at work, rebuffed with “you have to be more empathetic towards me!”. What she did not realise was the energy I was already giving her and that she was responsible for the situation she was in. By being empathetic towards her situation, i was doing her a huge disfavour. She would continue to be in a victim’s role she assumed herself. The moment I stopped acting like a “golden fish” of understanding and giving and she stopped asking for more, she learned to take things into her hands and move on, as a responsible adult.

So I learned to give empathy with moderation, set and be clear about boundaries and  encourage others to take responsibility for their own situation. So that we all benefit from a healthy and meaningful dose of empathy for harmonious relations. 

Family time: a walk in the park

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Pourtales Park is at 10 minute bus ride from my home. Yet, our busyness kept it miles away. So one Sunday morning on a beautiful September day, we made it. What a lovely discovery! 

The Palace made it through wars and was reinvented and rescued with private investment by Dr. Leibrecht and his family. It is a hotel and an events venue today. 

The Park’s trails take you to places with surprises. Thanks to my kid’s previous school trip, we knwe what to look for. But it is also fun if you just walk and let the Park reveal itself. Portales: a place where nature meets art.