“One doesn’t have to operate with great malice to do great harm. The absence of empathy and understanding are sufficient.” Charles Blow
SEL Connection: Empathy is something that most students develop as they get older. Sometimes, having to overcome great adversity can build the capacity to become empathetic at an early age. Sometimes, students will have empathy modeled at home and arrive in class with high levels of emotional intelligence. Others students may not be as lucky and may not even know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of someone else’s care and compassion.
Claim: Here New York Times Op-Ed columnist Charles Blow warns us that empathy is more than just a generous sentiment. When we lack empathy, we can do terrible harm to others.
Counterclaim: But what about our own situation? What if no one is trying to understand us? Showing empathy is much easier for people who already have it good. If you are struggling, it’s more important to rely on yourself and your own affairs.
Essential Question: After putting the quote on the board discussing it with students, assign this question to students for homework and start off a discussion with their responses the next day — Can we punish someone and still be empathetic?
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