Empathy & Listening to Our Youth

Empathy & Listening to Our Youth

Empathy & Listening to Our Youth

Andrew Jame Sanchez

Andrew Jame Sanchez

Andrew Jame Sanchez

Pink Flower
Pink Flower
Pink Flower

Introduction

In some of my lessons created for the Social Optics curriculum, I’ve explored empathy and listening as two important human concepts. While seemingly very different, they both intersect at the crossroads of connection; In other words, our relationships. In these lessons, we dive into different listening styles, a concept and skill formed as we continue to utilize them throughout life. One subconcept of listening is empathetic listening. It is instrumental in allowing us to understand how others feel so that we can put ourselves in their shoes, form friendships, and strengthen relationships.

Empathetic Listening

As I was writing this lesson, I was thinking about how much all adults can benefit from learning about empathetic listening. After all, what better way to model a concept that benefits youth by teaching them by example? 

Unfortunately, not many adults have been taught to listen with empathy in mind. Most people are taught to either listen silently to absorb information, or listen in preparation for responding. Both methods can be valuable, but don’t allow a subjective perspective to form naturally. For adults and students, this makes it hard for people to understand their feelings and the feelings of those they are listening to. In an age of stoicism, we must learn where emotion and listening functions in everyday life.

This can be done by looking within ourselves and considering where behaviorist mindsets may be preventing emotion. Statements like “children should be seen but not heard” are examples of generational programming that is impacting our listening. “Silence is golden” is another way curiosity and inquiry is treated like a problem in most societies. When we think about the generational value of silence, it’s no wonder that children and adolescents today do not speak or participate in school.

Listening & Empathy

Ask yourself this question: How do we undo the decades of stifling a child’s inquisitive nature that generational conditioning and trauma has imposed upon all generations?

I believe that we start by listening to children in ways we wished we were listened to in our youth. Whether you are a teacher, parent, grandparent, older sibling, or extended family member, we should all listen to children with empathy. When a child in your life has a bad day at school, it can be hard to deal with their feelings while also regulating your own emotions from a long day at work. But moments like these are where it’s the most important to break out of generational conditioning so that we can really listen when we are needed the most. We cannot continue to blame kids for being needy after a day of overstimulation at school. It is our responsibility to empathize with their situation because we’ve all been there before. As adults, we can regulate our emotions better than kids can, and we should listen to them actively and with empathy to support them in learning to also regulate their emotions. In doing so, we have the power to lay a positive foundation for dialogue with patience and empathy, rather than the monologue that so many of us experienced in our youth.


Andrew Sanchez: I am a Curriculum Specialist at Social Optics. Born and raised in New York City, I’ve grown up with an appreciation for inclusivity and representation for all people. I identify strongly with my North African, Portuguese, and Taino Indigenous heritage, as well as my neurodiversity. I struggled with my identity as a child, and my experience with standardized education was shaped by my undiagnosed Autism until the age of 25. Throughout my life, I have been writing and publishing blogs on social media. Now, as a curriculum writer, I approach writing from the perspective that we can best support students of all ages by providing them with an unshakable foundation of who they are and how they can overcome individual challenges to become the person they want to be come, thus preparing them for real life challenges presented by our ever-changing world. 

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All Rights Reserved. 2024 Social Optics Inc.

Seeing Differently, Communicating Clearly.

All Rights Reserved. 2024 Social Optics Inc.

Seeing Differently, Communicating Clearly.

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All Rights Reserved. 2024 Social Optics Inc.

Seeing Differently, Communicating Clearly.

All Rights Reserved. 2024 Social Optics Inc.