Amy Rees Anderson

A Day In One Another’s Shoes

Last night my I went and saw the musical Freaky Friday with my daughter. I would guess all of you are familiar with the storyline from the Disney movie Freaky Friday already, but just in case your not, it’s about a mother and her teenage daughter who have been struggling to get along (as many mother and teen daughters do) when magic comes over them and causes their spirits to switch bodies with one another, leaving the daughter’s spirit is in the mother’s body and the mother’s spirit is in the daughter’s body. The two are forced to spend an entire day living the other persons life with the mother having to go to high school and the daughter having to go to work and care for the family.

It was a fantastic musical and my daughter and I laughed out loud many times at how familiar several of the arguments sounded between the mother and daughter. I think all parents and children resonate with the storyline because we’ve all struggled at times to feel appreciated and understood by each other.

Through their experiences of walking in the other one’s shoes, by the time they are able to switch back to their own bodies both the mother and daughter have gained empathy and a much better appreciation and love for one another.

The takeaways were: As parents we need to step back and recognize what our kids are going through in their lives and try to remember what it was like to be their age. We need to remember the desire to be taken seriously and the pressures they face from their peers and the fears of the future. Its not easy growing up…And kids needs to step back and realize that it’s not easy to be a parent – there’s no manual on how to do it all right. Parents are in many ways still kids themselves who are still figuring out their own lives so of course its terrifying to be expected to be responsible for someone else’s life too. And the last thing any parent wants to do is let their children down by failing them in any way. It’s not easy being a parent…

The best way to repair and strengthen our relationships with others is to really give credit to what it must be like to walk in each other’s shoes and to recognize what possible challenges the other person may be facing or having to battle through. Not just in the case of mothers and daughters or parents and children, but for any relationship we have with anyone. If we can allow ourselves to consider what life would be like in one another’s shoes we will be more patient and understanding with one another, our friendships will deepen, and our love for one another will grow…take my shoes for example – if my husband tried walking a day in my high heels I guarantee his appreciation for what pains I endure will grow tenfold 🙂

Have a great day!

~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the newly released book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )

1 Comment

  • Daniela Larsen says:

    Amy, this is beautiful insight. As I look for hero’s to bring to light in my work it seems that especially women are seen as noteworthy when they adopt masculine traits, pick up a weapon and fight.
    We don’t often see empathy and patience as characteristics worth aspiring to. Thanks for your thoughts!

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