Teaching children empathy can go a long way towards disregarding certain anti-social behaviors such as bullying and ostracizing. Why? Since EMPATHY is pro-social! It teaches kids to take into account the thoughts and feelings of others and to act in harmony with God’s teachings – Peace and Respect.
I started the big question, “How would you feel if…” with the high-spirited second graders. Their teacher has been struck with the same flu that has been going around the school. It came to her suddenly with a sore throat and body aches. She was expected to be out for at least a week; in hopes her body responds to the antibiotics. Being the ‘Feelings Teacher,’ this question leads children to put yourself in other’s shoes. I started the class to remember the last time they didn’t feel good, and share those feelings. Then the class shared various deeds that helped them feel better. The second graders were coming up with suggestions, making connections and asking questions – they truly wanted their teacher to feel better. Most of all, it was genuinely wonderful to witness the students tackle the concept of empathy.
The end result was a collaboration of each student’s well wishes, and assembled as a quilt. A true masterpiece.