Four years ago Google announced its newest Doodle for Google contest, based on something you would invent to make the world a better place. My daughter, Lilyan was in the fourth grade at that time. She came up with "Empathy glasses."
The glasses would allow people to see into each other's lives so they could better understand what the other person is going through and what their life is really like. She didn't win, but I kept the drawing as a keepsake - because to me, her mother, it was the best drawing anyone could ever create and the most special invention in the entire world!
I found it recently while digging out my Halloween decorations. At first glance, it put a huge smile on my face, then I thought...man our country could really use a pair of these right now.
One of last week's biggest stories featured Vice President, Mike Pence walking out of an NFL football game in protest against the players who took a knee in protest during the national anthem.
I was so disappointed when I read that. I would love to have seen a leader of this country stick around until after the game to talk to the players who protested; to discuss what they are truly protesting against and how as a leader, he could bring us together to make things better in this country.
But without a pair of empathy glasses, people can be quick to react to one another and pass judgment.
On a much smaller scale, I recently encountered a situation in that had I not been wearing my empathy glasses, I would have reacted in a similarly negative way.
I was making a return at Kmart where the cashier helping me was anything but pleasant. In fact, she was downright nasty. My initial thought was, what the hell is her problem? I was about to offer a snippy response, instead, I asked her if everything was OK, as she seemed pretty upset. The woman thanked me for asking and explained how the manager put her on a second shift which would make her late for her son's birthday party.
So...I felt like a big pile of poop after hearing that. But it made me thankful that I took a moment to understand where she was coming from rather than just react.
The next time you find yourself becoming reactionary or judgmental of someone else, put on your empathy glasses, you might get a completely different view.