A legacy of empathy

Pranav Gaddam, Staff Writer

STATE OF THE STUDENT – In the competitive climate we live in, filled with judgement and selfishness, empathy is becoming more necessary than ever. Numbers have seemed to define us, whether it is our grades or SAT scores, and we start to forget the importance of strong relationships. Everyone is different and we need to celebrate those differences through empathy rather than dividing and distancing ourselves. We need to work together so that everyone benefits and empathy is the key to that future. In order to shift away from this numerical mindset, it is important to address the issue at its root and there is no better place to establish this strong collaborative foundation than at school.

“Empathy is important in every classroom,” Spanish teacher Luc Landeis said. “I have an important responsibility to help people be more empathetic and learn from other people’s experiences.”

Through empathy, teachers and students can form connections and improve their understanding of others. Social skills like empathy equip students with an asset that they can use to network or form meaningful bonds. It can further train them to be able to work with new circumstances and help prepare students for their career and life beyond school. By encouraging collaboration with empathy, we can help establish a new generation based on collective success, prosperity and peace.

This peace can only be maintained through leaders who are able to empathize with their coworkers, friends, family and even strangers. Being able to place yourself in someone’s shoes helps foster that leadership, and by using it in classrooms, students can learn better, connect with their peers and improve their academic performance. Every human depends on interactions with others and by incorporating empathy in their daily life, these interactions improve in quality, benefiting your social circle. It’s a life skill that can shape the type of environment you learn in and help you relate to the diverse population around you.

“When you sit down and talk to someone, you start to realize that we are a lot more similar than we are different,” junior Virgina Crook said. “Finding a common ground to connect with someone else allows us to learn about others and possibly even improve ourselves.”

Through small but meaningful actions we can build a path towards that future and lead those who follow, but it’s only possible with you. Empathy isn’t a skill that can be easily mastered in a single day with the flick of a switch. It requires daily practice and is fostered over time.

There are many ways to be empathetic in your conversations such as listening to others when they speak, demonstrating that you value their words rather than ignoring them and opening up about your own life, which can help build connections with others. Additional ways to embrace empathy are by challenging your prejudice and reflecting on the discussions you have. Similar perspectives on the topics of the day can form groups of people with a multidude of issues to talk about. Whether it is giving a helping hand, chatting with someone sitting alone or engaging in fruitful discussions with people you have never met, kindness can touch the lives of people you never met. Kindness’s ability to ripple through a crowd and promote an environment of compassion will impact Northwood for the better. A more compassionate Northwood will fuel an environment with a legacy of empathy.