Wendy Mogel's (The Blessing of a Skinned Knee) recent, insightful article "Smart Empathy" in the winter issue of Independent School magazine, it made me appreciate how important a role empathy plays in binding families, especially today in our school communities. In her article, Mogel cites Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind (see post dated 3/30/08 post) by pointing out his emphasis on empathy as an essential quality for success in the 21st century. On the other hand, she does warn readers that there can be a "dark side of empathy," and while the economy is placing stress on our families, it is also setting a stage for school communities to take notice of others' needs.
If you want a touch of seeing inside empathy, a teacher colleague sent me a link to John Henry Faulk's Christmas story, which first aired in 1974 on radio's "Voices in the Wind" and is now presented annually on NPR radio. It is a beautiful story about one family being thoughtful of another family.