In a world that has become “all about me,” the author, Michele Borba, ED.D., researched the fact that teens today are 40% less empathetic than those of 30 years ago. You might ask yourself, “Why does this matter?” Dr. Borba found that this self-absorption epidemic hurts kids’ academic performance, leads to bullying, correlates with more cheating and less resilience, hampers children’s ability to collaborate, innovate and problem solve . . . skills necessary for our kids’ success in school, in sports, and in their future careers.
The author outlined 9 essential habits that provide an empathy advantage. Empathetic children:
- Can recognize feelings
- Have a moral identity
- Understand the needs of others
- Have a moral imagination
- Can keep their cool
- Practice kindness
- Think “us” not “them”
- Stick their necks out
- Want to make a difference
As teachers interested in reversing this trend, we were encouraged to learn that empathy is a trait that can be taught and nurtured. An easy read, Unselfie provides a blueprint for both teachers and parents who want to shift children’s’ focus from I, me, and mine . . . to we, us, and ours.