Monday, March 11, 2013
This is What Expanding Our Empathy Looks Like
We found this powerful video (about 4 min) about empathy from the Cleveland Clinic thanks to writer and education activist Sam Chaltain. On his blog, Sam asks "Imagine if we applied this same sort of in/sight to ourselves and our schools? How would our behavior change? How would our definitions of school, teacher and student success need to change? And what might we become more likely to engender as a result?"
The video asks, if we could see, hear, and feel, what other people see, hear, and feel, "Would you treat them differently?"
As humane educators, we encourage people to extend their circles of compassion and empathy even more broadly. So not only must we consciously try to put ourselves in the shoes of the people around us, and the teachers and students in our schools, but also the children far away (and next door) who are forced into slavery to make jeans and soccer balls and chocolate for us; the families driven to poverty because of institutional discrimination and wealth inequalities that we benefit from; the animals who are subjected to almost unimaginable suffering and cruelty to satisfy our perceived needs.
When we're able to put ourselves in their place, and to imagine the kind of world we want for ourselves and for each of them, it becomes so much easier to make choices that do the most good and least harm and that show compassion and consideration for all.
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