What is empathy? It is asimple question but depending on how you answer it determines who you are. Doyou care about someone’s well-being? Their state of mind? You may be asympathetic person but not be capable of understanding and feeling anotherperson’s emotional state. Empathy is putting yourself in someone else’s shoesor in the words of the great Alfred Adler “Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another,listening with the ears of another and feeling with the heart of another.” Upon arrival, it was clear that the fifth grader’sthought being sympathetic meant you were also empathetic. Even though empathyand sympathy have intertwined definitions.
They are not the same thing, one meansbeing nice, sympathy and the other means feeling it deep inside your core. Itwas hard to change their preconceived idea but I think we did it. Using theemotion cards, we helped them to identify different emotions and see which onecould use a little empathy. Their underdeveloped brains sometimes mistook sadnessfor anger or vice versa. So, we had to be mindful of that.
We tried to createchild-friendly presentations that would absorb in their brains. Our contentfocused mainly on activities and games that we thought would be fun. Our groupdecided from the get-go that we wanted them to enjoy and really feel whatempathy is, we didn’t want them to regurgitate information we wanted them tofeel it.