Posted by: Diane | August 15, 2013

Empathy

This morning, Phoenie and Kelvin were outside, waiting to get driven to camp.

Phoenie thought he spotted a nest in the bushes and yelled for Kelvin to come and see his discovery. Papak reached up into the bushes to push some of the branches aside so everyone could get a better look. Alas, it was only an old tennis ball and Kelvin decided it would be a good idea to throw it at Phoenie. Unfortunately, the ball hit Phoenie in the back quite forcefully and what could have been a nice, early morning, peaceful, nature lesson about birds, ended up with Phoenie in tears.

Phoenie was angry and very frustrated so he stood on the driveway, trying to figure out how to express his feelings…

…and out it came……“KELVIN, THAT HURT, YOU JERK!” 

Kelvin hung his head and started walking back to his house.

I yelled across the driveway, “Kelvin, where are you going?”

“I’m going back home.”

It was a sorry sight.  Kelvin was all dressed up in his “attacked by a shark” costume, ready to have a fun day at camp and now, he looked so sad.

I chased after Kelvin and explained to him that we had a ten minute ride to the camp and I really believed that we could sort out the situation in that time.

You don’t have to go home, Kelvin.

He seemed relieved that I wasn’t mad at him and the two boys climbed into the back seat of the car.  Phoenie was still very angry and sat there, with his arms crossed and looking like that restaurant character, Crabby Joe. (Phoenie can do a mean interpretation of Crabby Joe!)

Crabby Joe

As I was driving, I started up a conversation, hoping that the boys would resolve their differences and carry on with their day.

Diane:  Phoenie, I am very sure that Kelvin didn’t mean to hurt you when he threw the ball at you. 

SILENCE

Diane: Do you hear me, Phoenie?

Phoenie:  Yes.

Out of the blue, Kelvin spoke up and boy, did he cut through the silence!

Kelvin:  Phoenie, I didn’t mean to hurt you. You know, every day at school, I get picked on and I just do this kind of stuff to those mean boys so that I can survive the day.”

I was amazed at how articulate Kelvin was and I let the silence hang for a couple of minutes.

Diane: Phoenie, did you hear what Kelvin said?  

Phoenie:  Yes, Nana. 

Diane: Phoenie, do you know what empathy is?

Phoenie: No.

Diane: It’s when you know that someone is hurting and you hurt with them. But you have to try to understand why the person is hurting. Phoenie, no one at your school bullies you but Kelvin deals with it every day and he’s trying to explain to you why he’s sometimes rough with you.

Kelvin: I’m sorry I hurt you, Phoenix.

Pretty impressive little guy, don’t you think?  Phoenie and I had a good talk about this and he knows that he needs to apologize to Kelvin for calling him a “jerk.”

We’ll see what happens tomorrow. It’s been said that our days are happier when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind. It’s a wonderful truth and no one is ever too young to learn it.


Responses

  1. I know a few people who could use a little empathy. Good for you Phoenie….a good life lesson. xoxo ‘Mrs. B.’

  2. Thanks, Mrs. B.
    From Phoenie


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