Sunday, January 31, 2010


Throughout my many years in my grade school, I have begun to notice that kids and teenagers, as well as many adults, lack an essential understanding I like to call empathy. It all began in elementary school. I remember in elementary school that during recess or PE as everyone ran around screaming as is expected of elementary students, I began to notice the few kids that sat on the sidelines reading who occasionally looked up from the latest Harry Potter book. These were the kids that lacked in the social area not to say that I was the most outgoing of the bunch, but I recall having a few confidants and acquaintances where as this one kid in particular was lonely. I remember he looked a little bit different than everyone else and he was quieter than everyone else, so no one really seemed to care much for him. During recess, I remember seeing him and I was felt obligated to begin talking to him. Personally, I am not the type that goes out of my way to make new friends, so I was really just talking to him because I felt bad for the guy. We never really became friends because of differing interests, but it felt good to know that I gave him someone to talk to.
As the years progressed, I came to realize the lack of empathy everyone had, or at least no one showed it. The best example I can give is when the realities of war were beginning to be discussed. We would talk about the deaths of millions of people and the suffering of others, but no one really seemed to care. To my peers, these wars were all in the past, but to me, these wars were all in the present. I would constantly imagine just how terrible it would be to be fighting in one of these wars just watching your combatants fall literally around you to their demise leaving you no time to mourn their death as you fight for your life. To be fair, I never exactly exhibited any feelings of empathy towards the millions, so hopefully my peers were also remaining quiet.
Now in high school, there is almost a complete lack of empathy. For example, I hear all the time from my friends that are driving that old people should just not have their license and that old people drive to slow, they’re all senile, and they all should just hurry up and die. In my opinion, all of these things are terrible things to say. For some reason or another, whenever another person or group of people is brought up, I instantly imagine what it would be like to the other. I imagine all the terrible things about being old: dying soon, health problems, memory problems, mobility problems, their wife or husband may no longer be alive, their children may never call them, they may be lonely, they may be scared of dying lonely, and for some reason I generally see old people as more pacifists, peaceful, honest, nice. Naturally, I feel that it is just terrible to wish all the aforementioned things upon old people. This is probably not the best example, but my point is from my experience people forget to walk a mile in another person’s shoes. I just wish more people would imagine what it would be like to be the lonely kid at recess.

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