This I Believe

Sima - Gainesville, Virginia
Entered on January 19, 2007

I Believe in Empathy

I believe in empathy, caring and reaching out to help people; learning to understand their perspective, even if on those occasions I cannot agree.

We as humans need to sit and talk to learn to care for each other. Empathy and caring grow out of good communication. I have worked with people throughout my life, in scouting, in school, office work and teaching. People from all walks of life have crossed my path and I try and take joy from each one. Always trying to understand and empathize with their place, and to simply enjoy their company while I have it.

This past school year I have been the instructor for a high school level GED program. Teaching students studying for the GED has only reinforced the importance of empathy and caring. Each person requires a personal understanding of their nature, personality, and situation. Nothing is black and white or cut and dry. These students demand my empathy; it would be impossible to help guide them in their goal of studying and passing the GED without it. Their studies with me include planning for life after school, whether it is technical training, college, or straight into the workforce. Knowing their wants goals, empathizing with where they are and where they want to allows me to do my job well. They are here because of their desire for another way to earn High School equivalency. Some are here because they want to be, as an alternate option to reach their educational goals; others no longer have other choices. Empathy, learning about them, their goals, this keeps me grounded and helps me help them.

Empathy, caring, communication: I believe that if these qualities were everyone’s guiding light when relating to each other, we could cure many of the problems that plague our society. It is when we forget to care, ignore empathy, or fail to communicate that many social issues arise. Empathy transcends race, class and gender issues. It goes beyond politics, educational or cultural backgrounds.

In the end we are all human, living together; without empathy and the caring and communication it leads to, society would descend into chaos. It is our power to empathize that draws us together and inspires us to great works. Empathy lives within each person, we need to nurture and grow this trait, this I believe.