I decided to up the year on The New Family Podcast with this solo episode reflecting on the kind of year it’s been and the biggest lessons I’ve learned from creating 88 episodes in 2016. It's hard to do so without mentioning that many of us have experienced a real sense of heaviness about the state of the world this year. Just one aspect of that is the many people who feel that their choices—of who to love, of how to make a family—are under threat as a result of the U.S. election. So on this episode I touch on some of the wonderfulness of how far families have come and the level of acceptance they do enjoy, in a little effort to accentuate the positive and share a sense of hope.
I’m really pleased to be joined on the show today by Dr. Robert Enright, who’s often referred to as the “father of forgiveness research.” He’s an author and educational psychologist from the University of Wisconsin. If you’re listening around the time this episode goes live, you’ll know that we’re right in the thick of the holiday season. We may so badly want the happy holiday experience that’s broadcast at us from so many directions this time of year, but in fact the festive season can be made complicated by old wounds and resentments that translate into tensions or full-blown dramas when we’re gathered around a dinner table or a Christmas tree. Dr. Enright is going to talk to us about why forgiveness is not only helpful to your holiday dynamics but important to our health. And just as importantly, we’re going to get to know what forgiveness means and what it doesn’t mean, so we can take concrete steps to healing old hurts and coping better through the holidays and any time of year.
With the holidays approaching, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what it takes to find meaning among the near-constant hum of commercial messages that come at us —and our kids — this time of year. I knew that Dr. Michele Borba would have some good advice on how to find more meaning and encourage our kids to think more about others and less about what’s under the tree, so I asked her to come back on the show for this episode. Dr. Borba is an internationally renowned educational psychologist and an expert in parenting, empathy and character development. She is an award-winning author of twenty-two books, the latest of which is the acclaimed UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me-World. She shares some great ideas about how parents can get the focus off of the material and onto thinking more about others.