Late one night when I was having trouble sleeping I remembered an incident that happened at school where I experienced empathy for another person. At the time I had no idea that I was being empathic, I was just feeling my thoughts and acting accordingly.
I can’t remember how old I was, but somewhere between 4th or 5th class. Age 9-10??. There was a group of girls picking on one girl who had been brought to tears. I asked someone why she was being picked on for. The answer; her parents were getting a divorce.
I could not comprehend why anyone would be mocked for that reason and how dumb were those girls to be such bullies. Back then divorce wasn’t as common as it is today. I know this first hand as, my brother and I were the only kids that I knew who were from a broken family.
I was so disgusted in those bullies and my heart went out the victim. When the bell rang I did something that was very uncommon for me to do, I approached the girl and said “you will be okay, My parents are divorced and I’m okay”. She looked back at me with sad eyes but didn’t respond. I felt very inadequate at the time, however I realise now that it was probably the best thing that I could have done.
This is my only childhood empathy memory except when reading the Little Match Girl...that made me nearly want to cry. Oh, and watching The Champ with Ricky Schroder…..I had to hide my tears behind my hair!!!!!!
Oh dear, as I write this it is clear that there were plenty of opportunities for me to experience empathy as a child. What are your memories and experiences?