Empathy - November

EMPATHY: November’s Key to Success
November, 2016

Dear Mill Pond Students and Families,

It is amazing to me that it is already November and the start of the year has gone by so fast. As you know, each month we focus on a different Key to Success. This month at Mill Pond our key value of the month is Empathy. At Mill Pond I see people practicing empathy everyday.

During your monthly guidance lesson and within your classroom you will be learning more about trying to understand and be sensitive to another’s feelings or ideas; trying to see things from another’s perspective (Empathy). Having empathy is a key ingredient to becoming the best person you can be!

It is important to feel empathy, however it is equally important to demonstrate/show empathy. Like any skill, the more you practice the better you get. It is essential that we all practice showing/demonstrating empathy throughout our day. With a friend, family member, or teacher discuss a recent time that you felt and showed empathy. Where were you, who were you with, what was happening? So what did you do about it…….? What did you do or say that showed others that you are empathetic?

There are many ways you can practice empathy; here are a few examples that you may already be practicing:

  • listening to someone
  • asking someone how they are feeling if you think there is something wrong
  • learning about people from different backgrounds and cultures
  • showing concern and care for others
  • paying attention to the needs of others
  • getting to know someone better instead of judging them

Have you ever noticed that sometimes it is easy to be empathetic and at other times it is more challenging? Why do you think that is? What are some factors that make it easier or harder to feel and show empathy?

Below are a few of my favorite empathy quotes:

  • “Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.” - Alfred Adler
  • “I believe empathy is the most essential quality of civilization.” – Roger Ebert
  • “Empathy grows as we learn.” – Alice Miller
  • “Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up.” – Jesse Jackson
  • “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt

My challenge to all of you (students, staff, and families) is to continue to practice feeling and showing empathy when it is easy, as well as when it is more challenging. When you are having a difference of opinion/conflict with someone, stop and ask yourself if this is an opportunity for you to practice empathy. Try asking questions, listening to the other person, and understanding the situation from their point of view/perspective. Also, I would like each of you to pick your favorite empathy quote, write it down, and put it someplace where you will see it and read it each day this month. I am excited to watch all of you practicing empathy even more!

Best Wishes,
Ms. Kovaleski
Assistant Principal