Today is a day of reflection for me. It marks 25 years since my father passed away. Given this and Father’s Day being around the corner, my thoughts turn to the huge impact fathers have on families. In fact, the impact all of us have on others. With that in mind, I’d like to share with you a lesson my dad taught me years ago, that I remember to this day.
At the time, I was working in Ottawa and coming home from a business trip celebrating National Transportation Week in Thunder Bay. I decided to detour to the Niagara Region to visit my parents before returning to Ottawa. My mother had gone to Saturday night church service which left my father and me alone for a rare father-daughter moment.
Somehow we got chatting about his upbringing. Between the ages of 5 and 7 years old, my father lost his father to meningitis and three sisters and his mother to consumption, which is now known as tuberculosis. My dad and his two surviving sisters were sent off to live with their aunt and uncle and their children. I was aware of these details from what Mom had told me but had never heard my father speak of them directly.
I leaned into the table, closer to my dad, looking him dead in the eye and I asked him, “Dad, whatever could you have learned from this tremendous loss at such a young age”.
He answered in a heartbeat with one word. He said, “empathy”.
My father viewed the world through the eyes of empathy. What a gift he gave himself and others.Until the day my father died, he lived his life looking at others through the lens of empathy. He didn’t judge or admonish other’s behaviours. He simply put himself into their shoes and allowed himself to see the world from their viewpoint. He had gotten the message out of the mess. He refused to be a victim and instead, was a victor.
On Fathers’ Day, as we all honour our fathers present, past, future, and those who serve as pseudo-fathers to others, I invite you to join my father and look at others through the lens of empathy. If someone communicates roughly with you, it could be they’re having a rough day. If someone is curt or impatient, it may have nothing to do with you. If someone feels threatened or scared and refuses to help you by stepping up to the plate, they may be coming from a place of insecurity or overwhelm.
When you view with empathy, you realize everyone is the way they are for a reason. (PS: that’s an explanation, not an excuse).
My father taught me that coming from a place of empathy helps relationships and communication. Try it out, and when you find yourself saying, “Holy Moses, this stuff really works”, you can thank my dad. I know I do.
Happy father’s day to all.
PS: Come see this article posted and add your comments on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MarionSpeaks Let’s chat in between e-newsletters.Until next time,Better communication, better business, better life,Marion Grobb FinkelsteinKeynote Speaker / Corporate Trainer / Authorwww.MarionSpeaks.comMarion@MarionSpeaks.com
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© 2010-2019 Marion Grobb Finkelstein
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