What do kids need to be happy and successful? Empathy is the answer, and teachable habits must be taught, practiced, and lived. Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World by Michele Borba, Ed.D. is the perfect title to get the attention of young and old. Empathy is not an “add-on” or an inborn trait, yet this one trait affects future health, wealth, relationships, and promotes kindness, moral courage, and is an antidote to bullying, aggression, and racism.

“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”

Today’s culture is more “me” than “we.” We should be concerned that research shows there’s been a dip in empathy among youth and an increase in peer cruelty. There’s been more cheating and weaker moral reasoning, mostly due to our plugged-in, high-pressure society. The more anxiety, the less empathy. This book is a blueprint for change and gives nine essential habits of empathetic children including emotional literacy, moral identity, perspective-taking and more.

Borba maintains we have to live and lead empathetically and step in and help others. The foundation is face-to-face human connection. Empathy can transform lives. There are specific suggestions for teaching and putting empathy into practice such as creating “unplugged” times, writing personal and family mantras, role playing, reading, using mindfulness, and exercising compassion daily. Parents and all of us must stop valuing achievement over caring and give our kids “the empathy advantage.”