professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Virtue #3: Empathy

I am not feeling well right now. Most of my friends have expressed their sympathies. A few, knowing what is wrong, and having experienced it themselves, offer empathy. Sympathy is fine; empathy is deeper and stronger. Empathetic people do not cut in line because they know how that feels from personal experience. Empathetic drivers do not linger in the lane that is closed ahead until they can slip in in front of you. Empathetic doctors understand fear and pain when you are ill and vulnerable. Empathetic teachers do not offer the lame adage, "you'll make new friends," or ""it's no big deal." They might offer, "some days are like that even in Australia."

Imagine how much better the classroom, the school, the WORLD would be if we were all more empathetic. So, here are a few books to consider when it comes to empathy.

wonder WONDER by R J Palacio asks us all to consider how we would feel is we were judged by how we look and not for who we are. Share JULIAN'S CHAPTER and 365 DAYS OF WONDER as well. Many students are judged by appearances only. Let's make readers pause to consider how that feels.

absolutely almost ABSOLUTELY ALMOST by Lisa Graff asks us to consider what it must be like to be told we almost measure up. Albie tries so hard to be successful. His tutor and one of his teachers celebrate his small successes when others look upon them as failures. What can you recall of these experiences? I remember being asked why I had a C among all the As on my report card. Deficit observation? You bet.

cant we talk CAN'T WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING MORE PLEASANT? is a book that I could have used as my parents were aging. It reminds me that others also have to deal with aging parents and with, ultimately, their loss. To do all this in a GN and to remind me also that aging parents can be screamingly frustrating makes me recall my own thoughts and feelings.

molecules WE ARE MADE OF MOLECULES shows how we deal with loss in different ways. Stewart hangs on to his mother's old afghan after her death. As he reasons, it is filled with her molecules, so by wrapping it around him, he is inhaling a bit of her each time.

I could go on and on. But you get the drift. What books touch an empathetic chord inside of you?
Tags: empathy, reading, virtues
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