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!



How far have you come?

Last night a few things had been happening so my 8 year old didn’t get time to read aloud. You could have knocked me over with a feather when he informed me before bed time that he hadn’t read and could we please do it in bed before he goes to sleep? Usually he is the one who doesn’t remind me when things fall off the radar and usually his Dad or I read to him aloud before bed time.


Photo Credit: freespirit.com

“Wow, how far has he progressed?” was the conversation my husband and I had as we reflected on this change in wanting to read. We had seen it in other areas as well and the excitement on the boy’s face when we discussed the progress was gold. I am sure the chest puffed out a little and the voice became deeper. Interestingly I was then invited to “please have a look through my books at school.”

It can be easy to get caught up in the life of now, to be discouraged by the big distances left to travel and forget to glance back to see where we have come from.

This weekend may you have time to see an area of life that has progressed for yourself.  May you also have a moment to notice some progress in those loved ones around you, and then celebrate it with them. Taking time to reflect can be a good thing!


Photo Credit: edutechpost.wordpress

I would love to hear your stories!




Is self-sufficiency a good thing?

It was a still evening  last night, and as I sat in my lounge doing some reading I could hear a pleading voice outside. There was difficulty with someone feeling upset and not wanting to talk. The parent was obviously worried about what may happen next. Oh, the dilemma. Do I ignore or do I go out and see if I can be of any assistance. I found it really difficult to know.


Photo Credit:esa.int

We live in a world where self-sufficiency is the aim of the game. Some people can walk out of one room into their garage, hop in the car, open the electric roller door, drive out, close the door and arrive at their destination without any chance of human conversation. Some people do not know who their neighbours are. In many ways we live in a world that seems to be moving away from community.


Photo Credit: quickliftdoors.com.au

I know that I like to be self-sufficient. I like to be in control. I like to be able to look after things myself. But is it a good thing? Yesterday in the staff room there was a really interesting conversation where a few people were discussing the way love makes us weak, the word vulnerable was added and yet it was suggested that there is strength in love. That in many ways love is the mystery of life. Self-sufficiency can actually get in the way of being able to love and be loved.

indexI found it very interesting and personally challenging that self-sufficiency is on the ‘don’t’ list of wholeheartedness. Maybe it stops us from relationships? Maybe it stops us from giving the opportunity for others to be part of our lives? Maybe it stops the sense of community and kindness that can flow?

I have gone a step further to think of my parenting and teaching. Yes these kids need to be self-sufficient, but how are we balancing it with giving them the opportunity to be helped and to help others? I’d love to hear what you think.

(So, did I go outside…I peeked out the window, waited and prayed with my daughter. The situation seemed to resolve but maybe I need to be ready to visit?)


Photo Credit; picklebums.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 –