The Power of Altruism

There is a commercial on TV that recently caught my eye. It is a series of interactions, where a person observes a selfless act, and then proceeds to help someone in need when the opportunity arises.

When someone else witnesses this helpful act, he/she in turn responds altruistically. I like this commercial because it illustrates something about selfless behavior: looking out for someone else, helping those in need, acting altruistically does not come naturally, rather, it is learned.

It is my opinion that children best learn how to be selfless from watching their parents.

Fathers, we can’t just tell our kids that it is important to care for others or help those in need, we have to demonstrate this.


• Reflect on your father. What have you learned about selfless behavior from him? Was he someone who gave his time to good causes or to people who needed help? Was he someone people could count on?

• Helping others is not easy. We are busy, and spending time volunteering often comes at the expense of time with our children. Keep in mind, however, that one of the most powerful ways we as fathers can influence our kids to be “other centered” is to live this way ourselves.

• Opportunities to serve sometimes come to us, but sometimes we have to open our eyes to needs. Our churches, our community, our coworkers, or our neighbors all have needs where our willing hands can make a big difference.

The local fathering effort, in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, provides bi-weekly action ideas to stimulate conversation between fathers and parents.

For more information, or to join local conversations, contact

Mick Trombley at

David Eggebeen at

Robert Orndorff at

Marc McCann at 237-1719 or