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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Today’s College Students Have Less Empathy

One of the most critically important relationship skills is empathy. It is the willingness and ability to see life through another person’s eyes. To understand their unique perspective and to relate to what they feel.

According to a recent study conducted by the University of Michigan today’s college students do not demonstrate as much empathy as students from the 1980’s and 1990’s.

According to Sara Konrath of U-M Institute for Social Research, “College kids today are about 40 percent lower in empathy than their counterparts of 20 or 30 years ago, as measured by standard tests of this personality trait.”

Empathy is an important trait needed to establish and maintain strong interpersonal relationships. One’s ability to demonstrate empathy helps to build relationship connections through the development of understanding, trust and intimacy. Relationships lacking empathy are far less satisfying, potentially abusive and much less likely to last long-term.

Konrath went on to say, “Many people see the current group of college students — sometimes called ‘Generation Me’ — as one of the most self-centered, narcissistic, competitive, confident and individualistic in recent history,”

What’s responsible for this decline in empathy among college students?

According to Konrath and U-M graduate student, Edward O’Brien, there are several possible explanations. “The increase in exposure to media during this time period could be one factor,” Konrath said. “Compared to 30 years ago, the average American now is exposed to three times as much non-work related information. In terms of media content, this generation of college students grew up with video games, and a growing body of research, including work done by my colleagues at Michigan, is establishing that exposure to violent media numbs people to the pain of others.”

O’Brien further speculates that the increase in social media may also be partially responsible for the decline

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Mother’s Love

There are times when only a Mother’s love
Can understand our tears,
Can soothe our disappoints
And calm all of our fears.
There are times when only a Mother’s love
Can share the joy we feel
When something we’ve dreamed about
Quite suddenly is real.
There are times when only a Mother’s faith
Can help us on life’s way
And inspire in us the confidence
We need from day to day.
For a Mother’s heart and a Mother’s faith
And a Mother’s steadfast love
Were fashioned by the Angels
And sent from God above.
Author Unknown

Happy Mother’s Day!

Relate Well!
Dr. Todd

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Senator Brown and the Value of Speaking Up!

Regardless of your political party affiliation you have to admit that what we all just witnessed in the Massachusetts Senate race yesterday was amazing. It was the direct result of the people of the state being willing to exercise their right and responsibility to speak up with their vote.

Only a few weeks ago it was believed that the chances of Republican Scott Brown being elected to serve in the U.S. Senate were low to impossible. This election outcome is a great example of how letting your voice be heard can bring about almost unbelievable results.

The importance and value of letting your voice be heard extends far beyond political elections and into your own home and relationships. Many people settle for poor or mediocre relationships because they are unwilling to speak up. They often don’t speak up because of their fear of being opposed, rejected, insulted, embarrassed or humiliated. Unfortunately, when you stay quiet you typically get what you ask for – nothing!

If you are tired of settling for a less than satisfying relationship in your life begin the practice of speaking up. Speaking up begins with giving yourself permission to identify what is and isn’t acceptable or beneficial to you and your relationships. It then involves learning how to value your needs, opinions and ideas so you are more motivated to express them in an open, honest and direct fashion.

When you are ready to speak up it is important to use good judgment and discernment as well as appropriate and respectful communication. Don’t worry; you will get better at this with regular practice.

If you want or need more from your relationships, speak up! Like Senator Brown, you may find yourself experiencing unbelievable results!

Relate Well!
Dr. Todd

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Back From a Great Weekend

My wife and I just returned from a long weekend up in northern Arizona where we enjoyed much cooler temperatures while we celebrated my birthday. We had a fantastic time together with just the right mix of recreation and relaxation. It’s always great to get reconnected with Kendra by getting away from the daily distractions and busyness of our lives to just have fun and to reflect on the wonderful blessings we have been given.

If you want to make an average marriage great or a great marriage even better, get away from your day-to-day routine by spending some long weekends together with your husband or wife at least two to three times a year. It will help you maintain a healthy perspective and it will likely be a good reminder of why you got married in the first place.

Relate Well!
Dr. Todd

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Lesson From the Life of Senator Kennedy

Over the weekend, I watched some of the coverage of Senator Edward Kennedy’s memorial service. As I listened to the eulogies I was struck by how often Senator Kennedy was described as someone who paid close attention to the needs of those around him – even non-Democrats.

As I watched and listened to the stories being told about Senator Kennedy, I remembered another story I had read not long ago that reinforced the importance of paying attention to those around us.

Debbie was an exceptional nursing student. One day her instructor gave the class a pop quiz. Like usual, Debbie breezed through the quiz without a problem until she came to the last question. The question asked, “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Debbie thought it was some kind of joke. She recalled seeing the woman many times, but never knew her name.

When the instructor was asked if the question would count as part of their score he said, “Absolutely.” “In your careers you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say ‘hello’.” Debbie never forgot that important lesson. She also learned that the ladies name was Dorothy.

Do you take the time to demonstrate interest in the people you interact with on a regular basis, like your neighbors, store cashiers, or co-workers? Remember they are all significant and deserve your interest and attention.

No doubt we can learn many things from the life of Senator Kennedy, but perhaps one of the most important lessons is that a life well lived is a life of service to others.

Relate Well!
Dr. Todd

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mowing Grass Can Reduce Stress and Improve Memory

A new research finding is music to the ears of many wives. Scientists from the University of Queensland in Australia report that a chemical released by freshly mowed grass can actually reduce stress and improve memory in old age. What a great excuse for men to go out and cut the grass this weekend.

On the heels of this new research, women from around the country are now asserting that chemicals found in dish washing liquid and furniture polish produce the same stress relieving and memory enhancing results.

Great try ladies, but you will probably have to come up with a better strategy for persuading the man in your life to help out more with the chores.

Relate Well!
Dr. Todd

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Kathryn!

Today is my daughter Kathryn’s 16th Birthday. We’ll be celebrating with family tonight. Wow, 16 years old – it’s hard to believe! Time passes so quickly.

Make every day with your kids count. They won’t be kids forever.

Relate Well!
Dr. Todd