Dear Sibylla Kiddle School Families,
I have been reading through Brené Brown’s latest work, Atlas of the Heart, where she unpacks 87 core emotions of the human experience. When reflecting on the emotion of empathy she writes, “We need to dispel the myth that empathy is ‘walking in someone else’s shoes.’ Rather than walking in your shoes, I need to learn how to listen to the story you tell about what it’s like in your shoes and believe you even when it doesn’t match my experiences.”
September 30 is recognized as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which coincides with Orange Shirt Day. As I reflect on this upcoming day, the Brené Brown quote on empathy fits where I am at in my journey of understanding with respect to the impact of residential schools on Indigenous people and our country. The word that resonates the most with me in this quote is listen. Listening is hard but I believe it is foundational when entering into the process of understanding and learning.
In the coming week, each of our classes will take up Orange Shirt Day in a developmentally appropriate way. As a school, it is our hope that the stories associated with that day will foster the skill of listening and the emotion of empathy within our students. Ultimately, listening and empathy are universal in nature and ideally serve to further enhance our broader school goal of developing a sense of belonging among our community of learners.