As children grow and become more aware of the world around them, it is vital that they learn to empathize. Doing so is a life skill that will not only help them succeed in the classroom, but it will also help them thrive in their daily lives. In Brampton, Doon School emphasizes empathy in students’ character development so that they are ready to succeed as adults.
Empathy is what helps people to understand a situation from another person’s point of view. When a child is in a disagreement with another child, empathy is what can help them solve the problem without resorting to becoming angry. Empathy can prevent fights and hard feelings on the playground.
As a child gets older, disagreements become more complicated. When the child can put themselves in the shoes of another person, they are better able to understand the intricacies of the causes of problems, not only with other people, but in the wider world. There is no easy answer to why the world is the way that it is, and being able to empathize can help a child see that in a productive way.
When one child grows up being able to empathize, they will be a force of change in the world. No matter how small or large their world is, being able to say, “I see why you feel the way that you do” can make such a difference in sorting out conflict.
Teaching children to empathize with others is one of the most important things we as teachers – and parents – can do to help ensure our students and children grow up ready to exert the force of understanding in a world that is severely lacking in it. They can prevent conflict and participate in the negotiation of agreements that can benefit everyone involved.
We are not teaching children to not have an opinion at Doon. Instead, we are teaching them to have an opinion and to share it in a way that can make a positive difference in the world we live in. Empathy is critical to making that difference.