Then, we began discussing how we both believed deeply that all children can learn. How we both believed there were ineffective teachers that needed to be removed from classrooms, but how the majority of teachers are good and just need more support and feedback to be even better.
That struck me so, so hard... how could the faith I cherished so strongly also be the faith that spurred people in rejecting their fellow human beings in ways that were practically antithetical to compassion?
In 1968, I heard something at a conference on poverty and race in America that I continuously
reflect on and explore. At that conference, we were seeking to understand the riots that were
ripping cities apart through the '60s.
I have learned that empathy may not be a natural reflex for each of us, but it can be developed and nurtured over a lifetime. Learning to flex my empathy muscle made me stronger. It helped shape me into a leader who listens.
Some will say that we should develop a school curriculum that "teaches" students about empathy. To gain that feeling, however, the other must be present in our lives, and not an abstraction in classrooms.