Ability to Press Pause
I’m sure that at some point in your life you have either pressed a pause button on a Blu-ray, DVD, VHS (a what?), MP3, CD player, or cassette tape player (a what?). If not, then I am certain that you have wanted to pause a phone call because you didn’t want to hang up with the other person just yet. Or maybe you wanted to press pause on a face to face conversation because it wasn’t really going how you thought it would and pausing it would allow you to regain your sanity to continue the conversation.
I have a family friend, Reggie Joiner, that has one of the best definitions to include this action of pressing pause. He says this, “Empathy is the ability to press pause on your own thoughts and feelings long enough to understand someone else’s.”
See what I did there? I switched things up on you. Some writers call that a “plot twist”.
Today my 2nd grader and kindergartener go back to school, along with my wife who teaches kindergarten (not our daughter’s class). Along with my crew, thousands of other students and faculty go back to school after being off the past few days for Hurricane Irma. I know that many of you either have had anywhere from moderate to extreme damage to your house or maybe you know someone who has. Some of you may have completely lost your house and are currently living with friends or family.
Maybe you were like me and returned to work only a couple of days after Hurricane Irma came thru our area. Maybe you’re like me and you come home from work to either fix up what needs to be fixed at your home or your neighbor’s house.
Why should I show empathy?
Let’s not forget that there are not only parents dropping off their kids, teachers and other faculty postponing their cleanup efforts to go back to work, but also custodians that have been working around the clock to provide a safe, clean, warm, and welcoming environment for your kids to return to. Those custodians have also had to put off fixing what needs to be fixed at their homes so that they can fix their students’ home away from home.
How do I show empathy, today?
So as you drop off or pick up your son or daughter today, press pause on your thoughts and feelings long enough to understand someone else’s and maybe say, “Hello.” and “Thank you!” to a custodian at your son or daughter’s school.
Originally published at Lance M. Morgan.