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Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators
A lesson on empathy
By April Yan | May | June 2022
If the pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that we need to be more empathetic. We’re fine at calling out the big issues, like racism and homophobia, but when it comes to everyday insults, some barbed with malicious intent, we’re horrible. We’re desensitized to how heavy our words weigh, and so used to only thinking about ourselves. But the world doesn’t revolve around us. We should be understanding, not dismissive, and thoughtful, not selfish. Empathy is one of the strongest skills we could ever possess, and yet, most people refuse to live by it. Most people don’t value those who do. Acknowledging and expressing your feelings or care for others, this so-called “soft side,” isn’t weak. It’s what makes you human.
But in a world where everything is a competition, apparently retaining your humanity isn’t worth it.
It all comes down to our fear. We’re cowards. When someone is the butt of a joke, being bullied or put down, it’s easier for us to look away and forget it happened. Convince ourselves that it’s not our issue, and we have other things to worry about. Tests, work, sports, family. We have to be the best, and we have to focus on our own lives. Surely our lives are more important, and we can prioritize it over someone else’s well-being, right?
We don’t have to live in their shoes. We don’t have to be the butt of that joke. And because of this refusal to even consider the possibility it’s happening, we can’t even imagine how it must feel to live through it. And if that doesn’t change, we’ll all become robots. Accomplished, sure, but at what cost? Getting to the top isn’t worth sacrificing your humanity, and it’s time that we all remember that,

April Yan attends Ripon High School in the Ripon Unified School District.
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