Empathy and relationships

I have been really enjoying the opportunity to teach the same class for 6 weeks. It has made me realise how important relationships are in teaching. To be with these kids in the emotional ups and downs of a day has reminded me of the importance of empathy – both for them and me! That ability to ‘walk in someone else’s shoes’. That ability to know how your behaviour impacts on someone else. That ability to modify your behaviour in the difficult situation. That ability to relate to someone in their hurt.


Photo Credit: blog.spiritualityandpractice.com


“According to a recent Harvard study, cultivating empathy among students has been linked to a variety of desirable outcomes, including positive peer relationships, better communication skills, and fewer interpersonal conflicts.”
(If you have the time and inclination read more on the DailyGood Blog.)


Photo Credit: parentmap.com


I went from thinking about this to reading the “Principal’s Corner” in “SPW News” – the end of term news from my boys school.

The leadership staff had heard Dr George Otero speak. “He suggested that the nature of the teacher-student relationship, the empathy and care shown by the teacher and the ability of the teacher to help children self-direct, were the most critical factors in determining student success.”
If this is true for the teacher-student relationship, how much more must it be for the parent-child relationship?


Photo Credit: dyaneybergon.com

What a challenge. Children pay more attention to what we do than what we teach.
What are our actions saying? Are we teaching our children empathy by the way we live?


Photo Credit: howtobehappytogether.blogspot.com

Enjoy the weekend!



Thought for the weekend – try these 3 things!

As the first weekend of the year approaches, perhaps some of you are reflecting on New Years resolutions or simply the New Year that looms. I read that the success of resolutions actually lies in the type that you make! http://www.dailygood.org/story/640/3-resolutions-for-a-happier-year-christine-carter

Below is a quick summary of the article. Happy thinking for the weekend and days ahead.

Research has shown that the following three will increase your happiness. Maybe pick one and concentrate on it for awhile, and then introduce the other ones gradually.

1. Spend more time with family and friends.
Study after study shows that we tend to be happier when we feel connected to our nearest and dearest, when we feel like we are a part of a group or a clan.


2. Everyday, find a way to give something to somebody.
In a world that is more focused on getting than giving, a New Year’s resolution to do one kind thing each day, or to give thanks in one small way, is a pretty radical act. When we make giving a habit, we make gratitude and kindness central themes in our lives.


Photo Credit: jenniferfordberry.com

3. Get more sleep and exercise.
I know, that’s not one resolution, it’s two, but the science around these physical happiness boosters is pretty compelling. Studies are clear: You’ll be less stressed, less sick, and less grouchy in the New Year if you get more shut-eye. Try increasing your sleep 10 minutes a night for a week, and then another 10 the next week, and so on until you are regularly getting your eight hours.


Photo credit: greatist.com

To serve or not to serve that is the question?

My pantry had become a mess.  It was way past time for a cleanup. I checked the ‘best before’ date and found one from 1997! I have sorted one shelf and that is a great start.
A couple of my boys helped me and I gave them the job of fitting the spices into the new spice rack which was a lovely hand-me-down from my sister. It took them awhile. Tonight as my husband was putting some shopping away he commented:

“Josiah showed me the new spice rack.  He gave me the full tour explaining what went where and why. He was obviously very proud of what he had done.”


Serving others is such a beautiful thing.  The researchers in Positive Psychology know that when we serve others, when we put others as more important than ourselves, then all sorts of positive emotions flow!

I came across this quote in my reading today:

“Has there been someone to whom you’ve been meaning to return to serve? Take steps today towards making it happen.”   (There is an interesting story that goes with it, take a look!)


Photo Credit: mediafactory.org.au

Sometimes we have to purposely think to serve, while at other times it comes more easily.
With children we sometimes have to give them opportunities to serve and to ask them to help.
Serving is great for the soul!


Photo Credit: Easternhillschurch.com

Resilience in kids

I have just read a fascinating article by Maya Angelou re resilience in kids.  Maya had a very unusual childhood with lots of difficulties to overcome.  She is certainly well qualified to give advice on resilience. The interview I was reading appeared on the DailyGood blog.


photo credit: mayaangelou.com

Resilience is a word that is bandied around in our current world. Often I wonder what resilience means?  I wonder if my kids are resilient? What does it really look like? The quote I have chosen does not answer these questions specifically. It really speaks what we all know, but find so hard – we need to be careful what we say and how we listen to the precious kids in our lives.

The word schools can (I think) be easily substituted for parents, carers and adults.

“If you could leave our readers with one thought about how schools can best support kids and foster resilience, what would it be?

I would ask the teacher to be sure that this is the program—this is the job—that he or she is called to do. Don’t just teach because that’s all you can do. Teach because it’s your calling. And once you realize that, you have a responsibility to the young people. And it’s not a responsibility to teach them by rote and by threat and even by promise. Your responsibility is to care about what you’re saying to them, to care about what they’re getting from what you’re saying. If you care about the child and care about the information, you’ll handle both with care, and maybe with prayer. Handle them both with prayer.”


Photo Credit: Loveandlifetoolbox.com

And, an unrelated quote from her, just because I can …..

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.

– Maya Angelou –