At URSTRONG, we look at social-emotional wellbeing through the lens of friendship. This month, we’re zooming in on EMPATHY, the ability to truly understand how another person is feeling.
Within our Friendology 101 friendship skills curriculum for schools, we help children understand empathy through our Friendology Shoecase – a cumulative project students present on the very final session. From the little ones sharing how “Friendship Ninjas Stand Strong” to the older students presenting “Walk a Mile in my Shoes”, the showcase centres on a popular description of empathy: putting yourself in some else’s shoes.
Empathy is the intersection where self-awareness meets social-awareness.
Brene Brown, shame and vulnerability researcher, defines empathy as “feeling with people”. In this video, she explains the importance distinction between empathy and sympathy. Within friendship, teaching children how to carefully consider another person’s feelings helps them strengthen their relationships and develop a deeper sense of self.
Taking empathy one step further, we get children to also try to see the best and assume the best in others. In our Friendship Journals, which mirror our Friendology curriculum, children do fun activities centred on MUDITA – the empathetic joy we feel when our friends feel joy! And, as William Arthur Ward famously said: “When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.”
Whether you are a teacher or a parent, enjoy our Empathy Freebie – a powerful colouring-in sheet to encourage children to be mindful of what others are going through. Ask your students or child: “Have you ever felt like an iceberg before? How? Can you give me an example?” Help them see that sometimes our friends need a little patience, kindness, and empathy.
Let us know how it goes by tagging us on social media or reaching out directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to see your empathetic Friendship Ninjas! And, in case you missed it, view our Empathy Newsletter here.
Friendology 101: Friendship Skills Curriculum
Want to learn more about Friendology 101? Our flagship friendship skills curriculum provides teachers with everything they need to help their students become Friendship Ninjas! Educators: Explore our 14-day FREE TRIAL to check it out. Teach weekly friendship lessons all year long by following our ready-to-go scope & sequence.