The book discussed in your child’s classroom during March was “How Do I Stand In Your Shoes?” by Susan DeBell, Ph.D. This lesson promotes empathy by providing students with strategies to notice and understand the feelings or difficulties of others.
Miranda, the main character in the book, does not understand the feelings of the other students in her class. In frustration, Miranda responds by being impatient, angry and using put-downs toward her fellow students. In order to learn how to stand in someone’s shoes, she asks her neighbor for help. Her neighbor explains that “to show empathy you must either think of a time when you felt the same way as another person, or you must pretend to be the person you are trying to understand.”
During classroom discussions, our volunteer parents and the students talked about how standing in someone’s shoes requires a person to understand and care about the feelings of others. To do this it is important to stop and think, observe their body language and confirm our observation with words.
Tools your child might have practiced include:
- Listen without interrupting. Say, “Hmmm. What happened next?”
- Listen to the tone of the words.
- Look and watch people’s body language.
- Notice, name, and confirm the feelings.
- Accept that your friend might be feeling differently than you. Do not judge their feelings.
- Look for students having trouble and offer to help by saying, “How’s it going? I see you are frowning. Can I help?”
- Let someone help you.
- Ask someone to play with you.
- Do intentional acts of caring.
- Stand up to put-downs. When a joke feels like a put-down, respond with, “That joke isn’t funny. It hurts my feelings. It makes me feel sad. I don’t like that kind of talk.”
- Use the steps to a real apology to help students apologize for bucket dipping actions or words.
As parents, we play the most important role in helping our child connect and bond with others. Asset #26- Caring, teaches your child to be connected to and care about others. Please fill your child’s bucket when they demonstrate caring acts or words. When children feel confident in their ability to care for and relate to others, they are more likely to stand up for what they believe in and be UP-standers and take a stand against what is wrong.
Thank you for your support!