Tuesday Teens & Adults – Empathy W1

The Powerful Word of the Month this month is “empathy.” Empathy is the ability to take a walk in someone else’s shoes in order to read, understand, “feel” and respond to other people’s feelings. It may seem counter-intuitive to set goals that incorporate the feelings of other people. But it’s necessary if we, as leaders, are going to make a difference. U.S. President Barack Obama said; “we should talk more about our empathy deficit — the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes; to see the world through the eyes of those who are different from us…when you choose to broaden your ambit of concern and empathize with the plight of others, whether they are close friends or distant strangers — it becomes harder not to act; harder not to help.” Empathy gives us motivation to respond to others.

Week 1: This week, we’re talking about reading and understanding people’s feelings. People are often so focused on themselves that they barely look up enough to access how others are feeling. But how can we understand each other– understand differences– compromise and come to decisions without understanding one another’s feelings? As Atticus Finch said in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird; “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” How can we do that? In what circumstances is it important to know someone’s real feelings? How can empathy make us better leaders? This week, your Powerful Thought Assignment is to rate yourself from 1 to 10 on your ability to be empathetic. How good are you at understanding, reading, feeling, and responding to people’s feelings? What would make your score 1 point higher?