Dear Families,

Check out this helpful article about empathy from Dr. Charles Fay with Love and Logic (our discipline model at St. John’s):

“Those who understand Love and Logic know that sincere empathy is the cornerstone upon which the entire house is built. It’s the gift that allows our children to learn wisdom from life’s trials and tribulations, rather than developing discouragement and resentment.  Empathy demonstrates love. Love provides hope.  Hope provides the motivation our kids need to choose what’s healthy rather than destructive.


For forty years, the Love and Logic message has remained the same:

  • Hope and pray that your kids make plenty of affordable mistakes when they are young.
  • Hold them accountable for these mistakes with sincere empathy.
  • Do this so they can learn when the “price tags” are still small.


Many parents comment, “Empathy is the hardest part! Too often my own frustration and anger get in the way.”  Providing empathy requires that we tolerate messiness rather than trying to create a sanitary life for our kids.


In my book, Parenting for Success, I discuss why messiness is necessary for developing the attitudes and skills required for adult success.  Deep in our parental hearts is the wishful dream that our children will enjoy a fairytale life where all issues are resolved cleanly and they live happily ever after. Ironically, this well-intentioned urge often makes it harder for us to provide empathy when our kids need it the most.


Lectures, threats, frustration, and anger provide an illusion of control, a fleeting sense that we’re getting something done.  Empathy requires a strong conviction that we cannot fix others, but that life’s challenges are gifts that build maturity.”

In joyful service,

Mrs. Dolan


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