Conspicuously absent from this list — as critically important as anything else on it — is the fostering of emotional intelligence. Empathy is one component, but there’s much more, such as for example, impulse control, patience, self-esteem, etc.
The waning level of emotional intelligence in contemporary society is wreaking havoc on our ability to interact with one another in a civil, respectful, meaningful, productive manner. We put too little effort into listening, entertaining diverse viewpoints and finding common ground. We shun prime opportunities to smartly negotiate those instances where we disagree— even if it means sometimes agreeing to disagree but still keeping the relationship civil and manageable. We put way too much effort into relentlessly pushing — nay, imposing — our personal and group agendas with blind passion. We’ve become indifferent to— or even hateful toward — anyone who doesn’t fit into our self-identity mold.
This is not about multiculturalism or unconditional tolerance (a double-edged sword if ever there was one); it’s about common human decency and respect, being mindful of others as well as ourselves. Teaching emotional intelligence would be far more productive than teaching multiculturalism in schools.