Thursday, September 10, 2009

Empathy at School

School-age children across the country are back in school. It’s an annual ritual that, depending on the school district, comes either shortly before Labor Day or on the day after it.

The behavior expectations for students at the elementary school my sons attend are expressed in the acronym CARES:

● Cooperation (Work together with staff and students.)
● Assertion (Do your best and stand up for what is right.)
● Responsibility (Be prepared to learn. You are in charge of your own behavior.)
● Empathy (Treat others the way you want to be treated.)
● Self Control (Make safe choices.)

After the various fulminations against it by Republicans opposed to President Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomajor to the Supreme Court, it was good to be reminded that empathy is a basic building block of civilized behavior − in schoolchildren, in judges, and in us all.

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