Group 2: Caring – Empathy & Loyalty

Empathy is all about another person’s feelings, thoughts, and experiences of either the past or the present. You have empathy for that person if even though those feelings, thoughts, and experiences HAVE NOT BEEN fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner to you, they are still something you:

  • are aware of,
  • understand,
  • are sensitive to, and
  • can vicariously experience.

Empathy is often best described as “walking in someone else’s shoes”. It’s more than just caring about what someone else is going through and feeling. It means actually entering into these thoughts and feelings and fully appreciating their extent.

Empathy comes with maturity and is worth encouraging during childhood with appropriate questions such as:

  • “What do you thing is going on with … ?”
  • “How do you think she feels?”
  • “What does she need to make things the best that they can be?”
  • “What would you do if you were in the same situation?”

Loyalty is unswerving allegiance to another person, a group, or an idea. It’s a virtue that may become more evident as the child matures. It’s need is usually provoked by a stressful situation and hopefully few occur during childhood. It progresses through close relationships with family members, friends, class members in school, group members and team-mates. Loyalty has strong ties to self-control and courage.

Loyalty is characterized by:

  • commitment: consistently “going the extra mile“,
  • supporting steadfastly in a “stand-by-me” fashion,
  • protecting or supporting a friend being subjected to bullying,
  • assisting to the point of self-sacrifice,
  • dedication: perfect attendance at group events,
  • devotion: paying close attention to duties,
  • faithfulness: keeping promises and fulfilling responsibilities, and
  • patriotism.
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