The idea of empathy has been on my mind a lot lately, in part because of this clip that made the rounds on social media about a week ago. While on Conan a while back, funnyman Louis C.K. discussed his views on why he doesn’t want his kids to have cell phones…
The guy is a comedian. Cell phones are here to stay, and modern technology is what it is. You have to know he’s being a bit facetious.
But his ideas about empathy being a practice that one has to develop is correct – this is why it’s important to teach kids to look people in the eye when they speak to others – we can’t possibly develop a keen sense of empathy without learning how to properly relate to one another. Manners matter. Tone, body language and facial expressions are to help people understand one another. We are not one-dimensional, and we are not comprised of short lines of text. Finding the balance is the trick, I think.
So, no-one’s saying you should throw your cell phones into the trash, and that your kids shouldn’t have one, either. (Of course not.) But kids put into practice what they see. Maybe it doesn’t need to be on the table at the restaurant? Might you consider not checking it every five seconds, and instead just checking in with the live person right across from you? Put your hand out, and look a person in the face while you’re talking. It’s better this way.
Better for the world, yo. Believe it.
[Photo credit: Latino Rebels]