There are a lot of ways I could be a better human being. I could try acting like my husband hadn’t committed treason every time he leaves a table of dirty breakfast dishes. I could remember that it is a 2-year old rite of passage to ask “Why?” 7000 times a day before I snap and respond, “It just is, okay?” I could pick up more random litter, give more money to battle heinous diseases and generally be a little more forgiving about my mother’s Republican politics.
In sum, I could be a little more empathetic.
Adam Smith, a Very Important Economist, wrote about the importance of empathy, or putting ourselves in the shoes or others, in The Theory of Moral Sentiments in the 18th century.
Paul Simon showed some empathy during this concert in Canada when he invited a fan up to sing with him and made her crazy with joy.
Who knows what led him to do this. Perhaps he contemplated what it would be like to be 20something and on stage with your musical hero. Maybe his drummer made him do it. Whatever the reason, her happiness rubs off on him and he looks pretty psyched too.
Here are my efforts at empathy: My husband leaves a massive mess because he has to be at work earlier than I do. My daughter’s line of repetitive questioning, while maddening, is a sign that she’s curious and kind of awesome. And my mother’s affinity for Rush Limbaugh?
I’ll have to keep working on that.