The Need for Empathy

With the news of the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of and the need for empathy.  In the world of child development, a child’s socio-emotional development is an important priority and milestone in learning.  Yet, somewhere along the line, it seems to become less important in adulthood and too often assumptions and generalizations overtake personal connections.

I’ve wondered why it is so easy to empathize with children trapped in caves halfway around the world, but not necessarily with children separated from their parents at a US border.  Both are trapped, far from home and love ones. But yet, one is viewed far differently than the other. Too often politics and the 24 hour news cycle skew the perspective and our ability to connect at a basic human level.    Politics aside, I find it more critical than ever to tap into those skills to look beyond the surface and view things from multiple perspectives, moving to better understand those with different lives, cultures and struggles.

As almost on cue, a friend and colleague recently shared some resources online regarding empathy.  One that I found really interesting was the Making Caring Common Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Check out their website: https://mcc.gse.harvard.edu/ and these tips on how to cultivate empathy in children: https://mcc.gse.harvard.edu/files/gse-mcc/files/empathy.pdf. It’s a good reminder and practice for everyone.