Empathy is a 21st century skill that our kids will need more and more of in order to make the most of their future. A lot of smart organizations, schools, and businesses are cultivating this skill set in their people. It helps people not only connect, but get to the deeper detailed aspects of issues. That empathetic connection gets to better outcomes.
Brené Brown on Empathy
A father told me a story the other day about how he was driving down the road with his son in the car and was cut off by another driver. He yelled out, “Hey Buddy watch your driving!” His son then said, “Dad what if they are just learning how to drive? Take it easy.” The Dad now with this new possibility found himself calm and move on from feeling angry.
My point is that we all deal with adversity, but how we filter that information can dramatically change your reaction. This boy showed his dad that showing empathy by considering the possibility that the driver who cut his dad off could be learning how to drive and be given some leeway. Seeing possibilities is liberating, try it!
Just a last thought about how to support empathy with your special little person. Some children at school who have a hard time working through social situations often time need social skills training. Here is a great worksheet to help with breaking down a social situation to make good decisions and more importantly a teachable moment for a student.
Perspective taking is really important for our kiddos building capacity in the area of social skills. Categorizing Expected verses Unexpected can be crucial to developing a filter when making a good choice verses and not so good choices.