Sep 19, 2010

Help Your Child Learn Empathy

I found this poem that teaches children about empathy on the mom stuff community blog.Help Your Child Learn Empathy

This is the perfect time to share this poem with your kids as they go back to school.
Somewhere out there is Laura.  I don’t know anything about her except that she wrote this poignant poem titled “I Am”.  The poem has been used in anti bullying campaigns around the world, and today I’d like to share it with you.

I am the person you bullied in school
I am the one who didn’t know how to be cool
I am the person you alienated
I am the person you ridiculed and hated
I am the person who sat on their own
I am the person who walked home alone
I am the person you scared every day
I am the person who had nothing to say
I am the person with hurt in their eyes
I am the person you never saw cry
I am the person living alone with their fears
I am the person destroyed by their peers
I am the person who drowned in your scorn
I am the person who wished they hadn’t been born
I am the person whose name you don’t know
I am the person who just can’t let go
I am the person destroyed for ‘fun’
I am the person, but not the only one
I am the person who had feelings too
..and I am a person, JUST LIKE YOU!!!

This poem evokes immense empathy by the preponderance of those who read it.  The dictionary defines empathy as “understanding” or “a deep emotional understanding of another’s feelings or problems”.  Having researched the value of emotional and social intelligence (ESI) skills in our youth, I can tell you that development of empathy as a key competency renders positive results for personal satisfaction and healthy relationships.   Though some believe that empathy is innate, I’m with the majority and believe that empathy can, and should be, taught to children at the earliest cognitive opportunity.  I envision empathy as a tool for carving out a kinder world in which there is diminished bullying and a population of children that is happier to the core.  Reading this poem with your kids and creating dialogue of what it must be like to be a bullied person is one approach to create awareness and fruitful action, but we need more.
Please contribute to our comments section and share your positive ideas or rewarding personal stories on how we, as a community can increase empathy to decrease bullying of any kind.  Then, consider sharing the article with anyone and everyone you know who can make a difference at home and beyond.  Ask them to participate too.  
It does take a village!
This post is from Keyuri Joshi the On the Ball Parenting Coach
. Visit here web site for more great help on parenting, and to share your positive ideas.


Annette said...

Thank you for sharing this poem with me--I never read it before. I, too, believe empathy needs to be taught...taught to avoid bullying and taught to learn how to love, respect, and be kind to others. When my little boy gets older, I plan to get him involved in community service too, so that he can learn how to "give back" to people and how to count his own blessings in life. It does need to be taught. I teach in college, and I'm sad to say, many of my students don't know how to be kind...not to their peers and not even to me... Thanks for this post!

Carol Lawrence And Stacy Toten said...

Annette, your so very welcome! Maybe as a part of your curriculum you can include some way of encouraging learning empathy skills. These skills should be implemented at the elementary level, encouraged at middle grade and reinforced in High School. Priorities in our teaching system need to shift. Yes it needs to be taught at home but also reinforced at school since that's where most of the time is spent when your a child. Thanks again, Carol

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