EMPATHY (OR HAVING A GREAT CAPACITY OF PUTTING ONESELF IN ANOTHER PERSON’S SHOES)
THERE’S AN OLD CHEROKEE INDIAN SAYING: • Walk a mile in another's moccasin...
IN HARPER LEE’S TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD: • WE LEARN: "You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
SO WHAT IS EMPATHY? • Empathy is a quality and a virtue. This quality enables a person to understand and feel concern for others situation or feelings. Empathy means to identify with the problems or situations of people and understand their thoughts and condition. It is an action of being sensitive to others and their feelings without them explicitly airing them. It is different from sympathy. Empathy means 'to suffer' in Greek language. It was first used in the English language during the early 20th century.
WHAT IS EMPATHY? • It means putting one self in another person's mould. It is being in somebody else's shoes and knows about their emotions and entering into their way of thinking. Thus this quality assists a person in recognizing, perceiving and feeling the emotions of others. People often empathize with others through their moods and behaviors. It is quality that is possessed by great people like Gandhi and others.
SUSAN SARANDON: • When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you.
HENRY FORD: • If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from his angle as well as your own. ~
MUSICIAN TIM FINN: • True contentment comes with empathy. ~
AUTHOR DEAN KOONTZ: • Some people think only intellect counts: knowing how to solve problems, knowing how to get by, knowing how to identify an advantage and seize it. But the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion and empathy. ~
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: • We live in a culture that discourages empathy. A culture that too often tells us our principle goal in life is to be rich, thin, young, famous, safe, and entertained. ~
GOOD READERS: • GET LOST IN STORY BY DEVELOPING EMPATHY FOR THEIR MAIN CHARACTERS AND BY LEARNING HOW TO PUT THEMSELVES IN THEIR SHOES.
IN THE YEAR OF THE BOAR AND JACKIE ROBINSON: • ANYONE WHO HAS EMIGRATED TO A NEW COUNTRY, UNDERSTANDS THE CHARACTER’S STRUGGLE-MORAL DILEMMA OF BEING LOYAL TO HER CHINESE CULTURE AND BECOMING A PROUD NEW AMERICAN, ULTIMATELY REALIZING SHE CAN DO BOTH!
TURN AND TALK: • ABOUT A RECENT BOOK YOU READ--HOW DID YOU PUT YOURSELF IN THE CHARACTER’S SHOES? HOW DID YOU ENVISION WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO BE THE MAIN CHARACTER?
BUT REMEMBER: • IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO JUST FEEL SORRY FOR SOMEONE. WE HAVE TO IMAGINE WHAT IT IS LIKE TO WALK IN THEIR SHOES. REMEMBER HOW THE LITTLE GIRL IN THE STORY I READ LAST WEEK HAD A TOUGH TIME FITTING IN WITH HER NEW CLASSMATES? SHE THEN REALIZED THAT SHE SHOULD HAVE BEEN KINDER TO THE NEW GIRL SHE MET IN HER SCHOOL THE YEAR BEFORE.
SO AS YOU READ TODAY, START THINKING ABOUT: • How is the character feeling at this point in the text? Why? • How would you feel if you were the character? • Can you imagine being in the character’s shoes right now? What do you imagine?
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF TO DEVELOP EMPATHY: • What does the character believe to be true about life? Why? Do you believe anything similar? • What might the character say in this ________situation? Why do you think so? • What might the character do in this _______ situation? Why do you think so?
APPLY THIS MODEL TO YOUR INDEPENDENT BOOKS: • THEN TOMORROW, WHEN YOU MEET IN YOUR BOOK CLUBS, YOU CAN START THINKING ABOUT HOW THIS APPLIES TO THE MAIN CHARACTERS IN YOUR BOOKS!