This is probably going to be a bit of a rambling post, partly because it has been a while since I posted, and partly because Empathy is such an enigmatic thing to speak of. It seems that I am finding out that the one thing that makes us actually human may be empathy. It is the very thing that may render us redeemable to Hashem. What is it?
Simply put, as the first lines of this link provide, empathy is the ability to share another beings emotions or feelings. My friend of many years has a grandson, wonderful and charming little boy, who has difficulty feeling empathy for others. He is 4, there is still hope, he has been traumatized by abuse to such an extent that it will take a while to heal him. But healing is a must. This has become more and more apparent in our research regarding this most important capacity of the human spirit. It is apparently Empathy that is the one thing that is missing in the serial criminal, those who can commit heinous crimes against other humans and feel neither remorse or repentance as a need.
It is apparently not all that difficult to injure the human spirit to the point that the capacity to empathize has been destroyed. Perhaps that is why it has not been an issue until this last generation or so. I have been so worried that we were fouling up in too many ways, and that this generation was so mixed up that we needed to cut bait and start over. But, here we are finding that empathy may be the one thing that could retrieve what little of us is worth retrieving.
This article,http://eqi.org/ray1.htm, explains that we can, indeed, teach Empathy to our children. That it is actually a neglected part of our education, a crucial facet that has been neglected because of the emphasis on intellectuality. Gads! What fools we mortals be! If this is true, then this society has created it’s very own monsters. We have, in our rush to teach objective science, and neglect emotional health, created the very people that cannot relate to their own emotions, and therefore cannot relate to others as equal, and having the right to exist unmollested. Heaven help us, we need to rethink the educational process completely!
http://wondertime.go.com/learning/article/baby-empathy.html Is a well written, rather short article that shows the importance of empathy and when it begins to develop in children.