“We might think that we know a situation. We might read about it. We might study it. But when you’re there having a similar experience as somebody else, that’s what makes you the most empathetic. But it also helps you make the best decisions because you have all the information.”
Role models in order of appearance: Blen Sahilu, Hiwot Amare, Steffi Paepcke, Maggie Fok, Ellen Kamei, Leah McGowen-Hare, Randi Williams, and Betelhem Dessie.
1) Listeners learned that you can use empathy in everything that you do. What are some examples of empathy you have experienced at school? At home? In your community?
2) One role model shared her belief that empathy will allow us “to become… more respectful of each other, more accepting, [and] more tolerant… as a society.” How might empathy make you more respectful, accepting, or tolerant? Why is this important for our society?
3) All people have different viewpoints and ideas about the world. Why doesn’t everyone think and feel the same way? Why are people different? What causes these differences?
4) All of the role models told us how important empathy is in their lives. From solving problems at work to connecting with others, empathy is something they use every day. How do you think the role models became empathetic? Are you born with empathy or is it something that you have to practice? Do you get more empathetic as you get older? Explain your answer.
5) Empathy is all about listening to others and trying to put yourself in their shoes. We learned about empathy as something that happens between two people in our daily lives. But can you be empathetic in any other way? Can you feel empathy towards an animal? Someone from the past? Explain your answer.
6) Think about all of the decisions you make every day. From what to eat for lunch to how to respond when your friend tells you a story, you are always making choices. How do the choices you make influence your day and the people around you? How can other people’s choices impact you?
Having empathy is the most important to become more respectful of each other, more accepting, more tolerant, and more kind, and just as a society.
I think it’s important to always remember, okay, what would I do or why would I want others to do for me if I wasn’t that in their shoes?
Just being able to hear someone’s story and kind of feel that within yourself a little bit goes a really long way in helping you make smart decisions. But it also helps you just in interpersonal skills and connecting with people that you work with or that you interact with just in your normal life.
And you can use empathy in everything that you do. Putting yourself in someone’s shoes allows you to think like them and think with their viewpoints that you may not have considered before.
We might think that we know a situation. We might read about it. We might study it. But when you’re there having a similar experience as somebody else, that’s what makes you the most empathetic. But it also helps you make the best decisions because you have all the information.
So it’s really about remaining open and not just kind of coming in and being like, “This is what I do and this is who I am and I know everything.” But really kind of stepping back, being a little bit humble. But beyond humble, really being open and understanding. A lot of times you have to solve problems for other people and sometimes they may be people who you’ve never met, never interacted with, have no idea about.
Without a really deep understanding of what someone’s challenges are, I might end up recommending that an engineering team make a robot that actually is not going to solve the problem at all. I really need to understand what the problem is that the person is having, and empathy is sort of the gateway to that understanding and connection with someone.
People who are very good at empathizing with others who they’ve never met, I think that’s one of the most important skills that an engineer can have.
Whenever you design anything at all, whenever you do something, the first step should be to empathize with the people and how they relate with it. So I think it’s a really essential part of your being.
Independent Learning Guide: This all-purpose guide can be used by educators, parents, and mentors to jumpstart a lively discussion about being empathetic.
What do you say when your friend is feeling sad? What do you do when you see a neighbor struggling with heavy groceries or having trouble mowing their lawn? These are excellent opportunities to show empathy by putting yourself in their shoes!
Classroom Lesson Plan: This step-by-step lesson plan is available to guide a more in-depth “before, during, and after” learning experience when viewing the video with students. This lesson plan is also suitable for use in after-school programs and other educational settings.
Use Empowerment Activities as a fun way to reinforce the video topic and build community with your students.
Empathy Fun Page Activity – What does someone say when they are being empathetic? Use this activity to think about the language of empathy and how you can use words to be more empathetic in your own life.