How great is this?
A perfect reminder that perspective matters.
Our daughter turns 4 this month, the age at which children are generally first capable of seeing a situation from another person’s perspective. This is the basic building block from which we can learn to empathize.
But empathy requires not only the ability to see another perspective, but also valuing that perspective.
How do you nurture this tendency? How do you teach a person to not only see, but more importantly to value another persons perspective?
I thought this short piece from the graduate school in education at Harvard had some good suggestions for cultivating empathy in children.
My favorite suggestion was to support “doing with” as opposed to “doing for”:
“Encourage children not just to do community service, to ‘do for’ others, but to ‘do with’ others, working with diverse groups of students to respond to community problems.”
Such a subtle but important shift, don’t you think?