Thursday, October 12, 2017

Education of the Whole Person

A few years ago a high school student left a note for his mother just before he jumped to his death from a high-rise apartment. The note was only a few words: "I did it." He succeeded getting the grades his mother desired and ended his life. 

Success and competition as a standard have put Korea at the bottom in ranking for happiness and high in the number of youthful suicides. A teacher and authority in the field of education gives the readers her ideas for the education of the whole person in an article in the Kyeongyang magazine.

Whole person education is a topic whose sphere is immense. However, there is a loud cry to center it on the virtue of empathy. It includes understanding another person's situation, sympathizing and going beyond to empathy.  Responding correctly to the situation with sentiments that will enable a heart to heart meeting with the other.

Surprisingly the ability to empathize with another is not that common. Gender, environment, genes all influence our actions and often fosters quarreling and conflict. Living within a community without resolving these problems we will not find happiness.

The differences between us and the other is a reality we have to acknowledge if empathy is to enter. The pivotal point is how to overcome the differences. 

There are programs used in different countries at present and the Canadian experience was mentioned where a kindergarten teacher has worked with nurturing empathy among children with the results that after a year even the frailest of the children were not exposed to aggression or any type of serious bullying. These programs are being spread to many parts of the world.

Need to understand we are beginning from different values and moral points of view. By discussion, communication we can narrow the differences. This is done with words. With verbal and nonverbal means  we can succeed in interacting with one another.

Secondly, there are those who with words can communicate with another. They have read a lot, experienced much, and have feelings that are common to many. A person that gets along with others has a wide field of understanding and is able to express this in his dealings with others. This requires reading and experience.

Empathy is different from sympathy. Sympathy is vertical while empathy is horizontal. It's walking in the shoes of the other and wanting to experience what the other experiences.

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