Learning Empathy

I am the daughter of two life-long learners who taught me you can learn something new every day if you pay attention. After learning linotype machines by correspondence courses, my dad who worked in the printing industry learned “cold composition”(computer technology) after 30+ years. My mom learned new secretarial technology after using a manual typewriter. When she got arthritis to the point that her body’s pain interfered with daily activities, she said, “I’ll find a different way.”

In a country where public education intercedes for all children, parents, grandparents, and educators must somehow learn and teach empathy. Empathy is defined as “the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.” (Dictionary.com) 

Jesus portrayed the ultimate example of empathy for us. To the paralytic who was lowered by his friends (showing empathy) into the house where Jesus was teaching, Jesus first forgave his sins and then to show he had authority as the Son of God, he healed the paralyzed man because of his faith and the faith of his friends. (Mark 2:1-12) Jesus knew that sin (selfishness) is the main reason we do not show empathy, which leads us to so many more thoughtless actions.
How can we teach empathy except by example? 
By modeling empathy, we can reduce prejudice, violence, bullying, gossip, slander, and immorality. Life’s battle against our sin has already been won by Jesus, so let’s make a lasting difference and model empathy!

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