Teaching Children Empathy


In response to the editorial “How Much Is Enough?” in the Aug. 10-16 issue of the Great Neck Record, one of a parent’s most important jobs is to teach their children empathy. The best way to teach this is not by talking about it, but by modeling behavior. There are a lot of good organizations that provide services for those less fortunate—volunteer! And get your kids involved in volunteer projects, whether it’s collecting canned goods for the hungry, coats for the winter or doing a walk-a-thon to raise money to fight cancer, heart disease, AIDs or multiple sclerosis, or to support Israel.

Every parent’s natural instinct is to want to make their children’s lives better than their own—but as worthy as that notion seems on the surface, it’s a trap. Better that our children should have less and appreciate what they have. When they’re old enough, help them get some kind of low-level job, so they can appreciate what it means to earn money—rather than have money handed to them as an allowance.

Many of my friends who know about my work with The INN (Interfaith Nutrition Network) have asked me over the years if they could bring their children to the soup kitchen. Since children under 16 aren’t normally allowed, I have to say, “Sorry, we can’t do that.” This year however, on Sunday, Nov. 6, The INN is having a special program for families to help give children a sense of caring for others. The program includes arts and crafts, gathering food for donations, a tour of the facility and lunch.

If you think your family would like to participate, please contact me at davegolbert@yahoo.com. Space is limited, so reservations are a must. There is a modest fee. I hope you can join me.

Dave Golbert

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