Empathy! Feelings! The explanation of feelings helps to teach empathy and instill kindness in children. Kids can be mean! And the best way to teach them kindness is to help them see how others feel.
A little girl who comes to school wearing pretty and expensive clothes makes an unkind remark to a little girl who doesn’t wear that type of clothes. Why? Because her parents can’t afford them or she doesn’t feel comfortable in them.
Sympathy and empathy are not the same thing. Children can be sympathetic when they view a situation through their own eyes and or experiences.
In contrast, empathy requires that a person has the ability to “step outside” of himself or herself. That person must enter the “internal” world of another person. When this happens, a person can experience the other’s emotions from that person’s vantage point.
Sometimes situations, events or people can jump start a child’s ability to empathize. When children’s hearts are touched, often they automatically react with empathy. When empathy comes into play, a child’s attachment to himself or herself takes a “back seat” to trying to help. The following video tells it all.
When The Best Of Us Steps Up, Our Nation Stands A Little Taller…Share this…Credit to: Canadian Tire
Posted by Most Viral Web on Friday, February 17, 2017
In the picture above, the two children that Rugby is speaking to must be guided into a state of empathy if they don’t arrive at that state naturally. Maybe the little girl in the dress has been told that how someone dresses reflects her value. Maybe she has been taught that she is pretty too often and she begins to equate what she has and how she dresses with who she is. As young as she is, she may have become vain and self important.
Hence, an approach might be to ask her how she would feel if her parents could no longer purchase expensive clothes for her. What if she had to go to school in clothes like the other girl is wearing? How would she react if kids made fun of her and her clothes? Would she feel better if someone tried to understand how she is feeling and say or do things that might help her feel better?
Finally, a parent or teacher… or dog friend might tell a child how proud he or she will be if this child shows kindness and acceptance of the little girl who is so sad. Honest praise goes a long way!
One day when I went to the pet supply store to get dog food, I took Rugby with me. It was a rainy day and there were very few people in the store. As always, Rugby was scoping out everything at his eye level. I was focused on my errand and we were walking in that direction when I heard people talking.
I heard a child say, “Mommy look at that doggie in the wheelchair.” Then I heard a woman’s voice saying, “Don’t go near him. There is something wrong with him. Let’s just go the other way. No. You can’t pet him. Something is wrong with him.” This was not the first time something like this happened.
It was almost like Rugby was telling himself what to do, “If they can’t come to me, I’ll go to them.”
At that moment, I felt Rugby pulling me down the aisle and around the corner to the next aisle where the children and their mother were. I saw the mother put her hands on her children’s shoulders and hold them. Rugby pulled me right over to them and then barked. It wasn’t a loud bark. It was more like a “woof.”
The little girl looked at her mother and asked her, “Mommy, can’t we pet him please?” I don’t know if the mother was embarrassed or just confused but she still held their shoulders and said nothing. “Mommy, can we?”
I decided that I needed to put my two cents in so I said, “It’s okay. They can pet him. They won’t catch anything.” She gave me a questioning look and I told her that I knew that she was concerned and that Rugby wouldn’t hurt her children in any way, quite the contrary.
She released her hold on the children as if to tell them that they could pet him. I explained that Rugby had been in an accident and that he needed the wheelchair because of his paralysis.
As the children and Rugby interacted happily, she and I talked. When we were ready to say good bye, she told her children something that I will never forget.
What a lesson those children learned on that day. What lessons are you teaching your children?