There is a new book out by educational psychologist Michele Borba called “Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World”. She argues that Americans are overlooking a very important ingredient that is needed to make us better people. That is empathy. Our current culture has given rise to bullying, cheating, and a massive feeling of unhappiness, which has led to a large increase in teen suicides.
We need to cultivate in ourselves, our family, our community, and our children attributes that are not overly individualistic, materialistic, or utilitarian. We need to teach our children traditional values that push us towards a communal understanding of ourselves, with a deeply moral touchpoint and, of course, a spiritual practice that will cultivate the transcendent, or God, in our life.
It’s not happening between our children’s faces looking at their computers or cell phones, sports activities that pull away from Sunday morning worship, and an overwhelming culture that in overt and also subtle ways pushes them into their own, shallow worlds. We need to be elevating our souls and feeding them on the food that is offered through faith, social involvement with those in need, and an appreciation for the larger, wonderful and mysterious world of others and God.