"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Empathy, Blame and Guilt

Neuroscience has shown that when we see people suffering, we in fact feel the pain firsthand. The same regions in our brain that increase their activity when we get hurt are likewise the same regions activated when we witness another person in pain. This is indeed the first step in empathy, to feel what others feel. Functional magnetic resonance imaging has demonstrated that this happens as well with children. Empathy appears to be universal. How we cope is where we diverge. We either blame or feel guilt. And in a study by Leith and Baumeister, they found that "Guilt-prone people and guilt-dominated stories were linked to better perspective taking (measured by changes between the two versions of the story) than others. Shame had no effect. Guilt improved relationship outcomes but shame harmed them."

The problems in Philippine basic education require empathy to solve. Most education policy makers and politicians in the Philippines do not send their children to public schools. Empathy, however, is just the first step. What follows, whether we blame or feel guilt, is equally important.

Above copied from Natural Wisdom Counseling
Good leadership especially in challenging times requires not just empathy, but also the correct perspective taking which the study shows happens only with guilt and not blame.

The predicament of basic education in the Philippines is quite similar to witnessing an area hit recently by a natural disaster. Showing empathy is one thing while being quick to point a blaming finger is another:

Above copied from CNN Philippines

Sadly, how we view Philippines basic education is no different. If we only had the right perspective, we would realize what is really hurting the education of our children.




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