Reading through the various articles on education, the word empathy strikes my eye and tugs at my heart strings for its sheer recurrence and relevance. And I am touchingly reminded of Wordsworth’s ‘Lines Written in Early Spring’:
The onus of true education lies heavily on the shoulders of its stakeholders-parents, teachers, society, media and the students.
Adults watch out. You are being eyed, emulated and evaluated!
Our Magazine Antariksh will speak volumes if only we care to read between the lines.
Every time children ill behave, sulk or be defiant, a problem that lurks underneath stares at our face and mutely beseeches help. How are we to address it? Assuming the reason, failing to connect, not being compassionate, emotional blackmailing and using force are sure ways of aggravating the problem. It is here that we need to empathise.
As parents the task appears most simple for the answer lies within the parents’ personality. Set those attitudes right and see it reciprocated.
As teachers the challenge is to help tap the latent cause of the deviant behaviour in the child and build on the positives. Empathy will result in unconditional love and built self esteem both in the teacher and the taught.
Society has a major influence on growing children especially teens. The fact that they are lured by the violence and macabre, indicates the lack or even ignorance of empathy. So also the media which showcases and idolises ruthless unconcern and blind hatred. These twisted and sometimes perverted actions are hyped and take generous rounds in the social net working sites and waylay the unformed mind of the child who grows up in an ambience of intolerance, violence and distrust.
To my students I would like to reiterate that what ultimately counts is not where you reach but how you reach and how good the steps you take are. In spite of all odds learn how to read a face like a book and recognise a genuine one and to be wary of the fraud. Take time to smile and ponder on the mysteries of life. To shed tears of joy and sorrow, to hug life and TO BE. To scatter sunshine in their paths and with empathy!
Pushpa R. Menon