The Importance of Empathy
The definition of empathy is the identification with the feeling of others. A large part of being empathetic is supported by being a good listener. An important part of effective communication is focusing on what is being said.
Some ways to be a good listener are:
- Make eye contact with the speaker
- Concentrate on what they are saying, not what your response will be
- Watch for physical cues like facial expressions or tone of voice to fully understand their message
Another part of being a good listener is how you react to the person speaking. It is important to sit still and wait until the person speaking is done. Then the easiest way to continue the interaction is to tell them what you heard them say. This way, the speaker can fill you in on anything you might not have understood the first time.
We can show more empathy and support when we fully understand what the speaker is saying and feeling. Having a safe and supportive environment is important for everyone because it promotes the ability to focus and be productive.
Some questions to ask yourself to help you to be more empathetic are:
- Could you control what country or continent you were born in?
- Could you control who your parents are?
- Could you control if you were raised rich or poor?
These questions are part of the Rock World Empathy – SEL and Global Studies grades 7-9 curriculum. Questions like these help people to be more empathetic to those who are different, reminding us that there are circumstances that affect everyone that are out of their control.
Having empathy is an invaluable skill, useful in a classroom setting, and yet another social-emotional skill that carries through adulthood. Being a good listener is a crucial part of life- from maintaining good relationships with friends and family to being a good coworker in the workplace.
The world around us is filled with different personalities and cultures from our own, and you will not thrive unless you have respect for others and learn to care about what they are saying.
The United States is a known melting pot with all kinds of different politics, cultures, economic statuses, religions, social statuses, and levels of education. It is important to internalize this early on so everyone has the social skills to navigate through their life regardless of whom they may run into.
Rock Digi has several lessons that can help children learn to be more empathetic, for grades 2-4 and 5-6 there is a lesson called Empathy. For grades 7-9 there is a lesson on World Empathy, which focuses on empathy and social studies.