New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted

Muscular Empathy

January 18, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Family, Guest Author

‘The Heart that Breaks Open Can Contain the Whole Universe’

by Viral Mehta

Bullying at schools has become a huge issue. In looking for innovative solutions, Canadian educators turned to a unique classroom program called Roots of Empathy. At the heart of the program, now being implemented in 1,400 schools, lies this insight: When you put an infant and its parent in the center of the classroom, children start to sensitize themselves to the baby’s intentions and emotions. The results that ripple out are unambiguous: a measurable reduction in levels of aggression among schoolchildren.

The program is successful because it fosters the development of empathy, supporting children in tapping into an unconscious part of themselves. The baby becomes a catalyst in helping kids identify and reflect on their own feelings and the feelings of others. How can we do this in our own lives? By consciously creating circumstances in which we can cultivate within ourselves a “muscular empathy.” (more…)