What If Empathy Was Taught In Schools?


What if empathy was taught in schools?

If empathy was taught in schools would you understand that your words can wound? A word can cut the soul like a knife, and when it does, those scars stick. It doesn’t matter if you hide your words behind a screen or a tweet, your lack of courage to put your face behind your words doesn’t lessen the sting. If anything, it burns more – because the hurt, the anger, and the disrespect come alive right before you. They stare back at you, challenging you in bold-faced print. Taunting you to make a move.

Sometimes the lesson is knowing how to soothe your wound so that you can move past it, to see it as a lesson, to use it as momentum to keep you moving forward. Sometimes the lesson is in saying, I forgive you for hurting me. Sometimes the lesson is being forgiven and learning from one’s mistakes.

Wounds to the heart are not an anchor to a lifetime of pain, but they are a lesson in learning how to step out of the skin of yesterday and into the one of tomorrow and the next.

But what if we didn’t leave that to chance?

What if, instead, we taught about empathy? What if we taught about the importance and power of choosing our words carefully? What if we revered taking the time to think about what one has to say, to understand that the words they speak will always have an effect – on another human, on themselves, and on the world, rather than giving retorts, and jabs, and zings all the glory?

What if empathy was taught in schools?

What if empathy was taught in schools so that we are reminded that there is a different story behind every person that you will meet and that those differences are part of life, as are disagreements. And that’s ok. What if we placed importance on the fact that the key to healthy adulthood is knowing how to navigate those differences? You’re not going to love everyone you meet, and you’re not going to always want to be best friends with them, either. But you do have to conduct yourself in a way that’s grounded in a baseline of human decency. What if we didn’t make “other” a dirty word, but just left it as what it is – something different?

What if empathy was taught in schools?

What if empathy was taught in schools, so that when we got to adulthood we didn’t make snap judgments about another person just by looking at them, or talking to them, or reading about them? Instead, we’d listen to their words, and hear their story. We’d feel their pain, and celebrate their accomplishments, and be a champion for their joy.

Or maybe we’d just sit and listen, knowing that we cannot know what they feel, and realize that that’s ok, too.

What if?