Thursday, October 31, 2013

Empathy 101 read a story

It's hard work growing up and nobody said it was easy to be a good parent. Children need attention, love and guidance to thrive. A child's emotional intelligence is key to their personal success and happiness. Empathy is one of the most important qualities parents can help their child develop and comes into being with cultivation, modeling and experiencing empathy first hand.

Empathy is an emotional trait that determines so much of who we are, how we think, and what we do. Children learn to practice empathy by watching their parents and by experiencing it themselves--being treated well by adults who respond warmly to their feelings. 

Boys and girls develop differently in terms of acquiring and being able to feel and respond with empathy. The ability to take others' perspective begins rising steadily in girls at age 13, but boys don't begin until age 15 to show gains in perspective taking.

Parents can play an important role to help instill empathy in both their sons and daughters by encouraging their children to “walk in another person’s shoes,” and there is no better way to think and feel yourself into another person’s shoes than to step inside their story. Reading a person’s story enlarges an individual’s experience of the world and stories stir our emotions and make us feel. In attempting to understand, empathy counts for much. And the literary experience becomes the passport to the entry into an experience.

When you know a person’s story, your empathy for the other grows and you begin to see that person as an individual. You begin to see that you have more in common than you might have imagined and your differences begin to fade in importance

The health and well being of the world depend on fathers and mothers taking an active role in encouraging their children to develop empathy. Their children and the world will be better for it.

I try and never forget something Teddy Roosevelt said:  “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care”

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