The desire to be understood is a powerful human motivator. Believe it or not this is one of our basic human needs like food or water. Violence (every war that has ever been and every fight in every home) has it roots in the lack of empathy. Without empathy in the home, school, and social environment we will destroy each other. The Lost Art of Listening by DR. Nicholas states “The yearning to be listened to and understood is a yearning to escape our separateness and bridge the space between others. We reach out and try to overcome that separateness by revealing what’s on our mind and to our hearts, hoping for understanding.”
True empathy has a cognitive and emotional component. While some people mistakenly believe that empathy is something we are born with and therefore either naturally have or don’t have the fact is that it is a skill that can be taught. Learning how to support the development of these skills in healthy directions is another of the tasks of parenting. The most important thing you can do!
Set a good example. Your child learns about how to interact with people by watching you and other adults in her life. Show her what it means to be a charitable person or how to be kind and loving. By helping family members and neighbors or supporting friends and others who are in need or having a hard time, you will be teaching your child to be empathetic person. In Judaism we use the word Kavod. Kavod literally meaning respect is one of the most important values in Judaism. When we treat people with respect (kavod), we respect their opinion, are compassionate and feel with our heart.