The first duty of love is to listen. — Paul Tillich
IN TODAY'S SESSION...
Today the children learned about empathy as a tool for treating others with caring, compassion and respect, and for making moral decisions about how to act in the world. They heard a folk tale from Scotland about a seal hunter who wounds a seal and then is given a chance by the seals to "step into their shoes" and experience how it feels, from their perspective, to be hunted.
We extended our exploration of empathy by acting out various scenarios where we stepped into other people's shoes to see things from their point of view. For our Faith in Action project, we began making cards and letters to send to government officials in Canada to help protect the seals from brutal hunting practices.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER.
Invite your child(ren) to retell you the story, "The Wounded Seal," and what they learned by acting out different parts of the story. Ask them about the role plays in which they had an opportunity to step into other people's shoes. Talk with them about ways in which you practice empathy as a family, showing care for relatives and neighbors, helping those who are in need, or forgiving others who hurt us.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER.
Notice opportunities to try to look at an experience through someone else's eyes and to step into other people's shoes. Point these out to your child(ren). If your child has a conflict with a sibling or friend ask them to imagine how the other person might feel.
A FAMILY RITUAL
Make a habit of sharing stories from Moral Tales during a meal time together, soon after each session. You can find all the stories used in Moral Tales sessions online; they are included in the Tapestry of Faith curricula for children. You can invite your child to tell a story, print out the story and tell it yourself, or tell it together.
See if your child will tell you some of the activities the group did, related to the story. Share a story from your own experience that relates to the story theme. Examples in this case could be experiences in which you learned to appreciate someone else's point of view or began to feel more kindly toward someone after learning more about them. Relate experiences that showed you what it might feel like to be hungry, scared, homeless, ill, oppressed, bullied, or in another situation that is hard to imagine if you are not in it.
A FAMILY GAME
Take a story that your family is familiar with and take turns telling it from the perspective of the different characters. For example, tell the story of the Three Little Pigs from the perspective of the Wolf.