"Define empathy. Why is it important in your life and in our society? When and with whom do you feel empathy? Is empathy difficult? Why or Why not?"
The dictionary defintion of EMPATHY - the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else's feelings.
I asked the students what the difference is between SYMPATHY and EMPATHY and one student said it perfectly - "SYMPATHY is feeling bad FOR someone and EMPATHY is feeling bad WITH someone."
I think EMPATHY is very important but a difficult thing to truly feel. Its almost impossible to share another person's experience and emotions unless we've been through the very same experience. If we have had a similar experience then we can have EMPATHY. I frequently have said that I don't have EMPATHY for my kids when they have braces because I never had braces. So I can have sympathy for them, but not EMPATHY.
If we truly had EMPATHY for more people around us and in society, we would be a much kinder society. I've often wished to live my mom's life for just one day so I could have EMPATHY for her.
I have EMPATHY for those who experience infertility but not true EMPATHY since we had 3 children before we experienced the challenges of infertility.
It's funny because when I think of EMPATHY I tend to think of challenging or difficult experiences but we could certainly have EMPATHY for others in joyous, uplifting or positive experiences.