The Pursuit of Empathy

I am very happy to report that CHAMPS has purchased the keyboard that I wanted for my classroom!!  The Assistant Principal picked it up and delivered it to my room.  Now that is help and dedication.  I am really only in need of some music.  If you are interested in helping the choral program out at CHAMPS with some of that head on over to the It Takes a Village tab at the top of the page .  Thank you in advance!!

I am also very happy to report that Bella’s Health class is done.  You can’t understand how happy this makes the two of us.  We now have a short Computer Literacy class to tackle.  I am not too worried because the first question in the book was “What is it called when you press and release the left mouse button” and the answer is clicking.  I think we are going to be just fine.  That is unless we start talking about inserting tables and hyperlinks.  She is on her own after that.

I did a lot of visiting yesterday.  Being from the midwest we like to visit.  I had fruit and coffee with a former parent of an exceptional gal.  It seems like the only time I really get to chat with parents is when I run into them during some performance their child is in.  It was really nice to chat about our kids and life and not have to worry about finding our seats because the show was about to start.  I went to camp to pick up Bella’s friend and ran into some of my favorite teacher friends, and say some howdy do’s.  I then got to sit and visit with a good friend at the mall while our girls were shopping.

I like to visit.  (hint hint)

OK on to the real stuff for today.

I have always loved the band Five for Fighting.  They really are my kind of band.  I always loved the lead singer’s tenor voice and the lyrics always got the goose bumps going.  I learned that Five for Fighting was actually just one man, John Ondrasik.  He ended up being a parent at the school I taught at, and I first got to know him when my choir sang with him at our school’s benefit.  He was gracious, kind, and accommodating.  He came to rehearse with us and spent most of the time answering questions and talking about his craft.  He promoted good vocal health and the idea that everyone should learn how to sing before they dive into singing.  I then had the privilege of teaching his daughter.  She was in my chorus and participated in the after school musical, that little bundle of energy can really saaa-ng.  This is also when I got to know his wife Carla.  She was equally as wonderful.  Very involved and always willing to help out.  I also figured out that their son was in Bella’s class and, according to Bella, was one of the nice boys.  As a seventh grader that is a VERY big compliment.

Let’s just say I am a big Ondrasik family fan.  They have always been so complimentary of my program and supportive of my choirs.  Their daughter is oh so talented and was a joy to work with.  I will miss them.

Five for Fighting (John) put out a new album last year and I wanted to share one of the songs with you today.  So I’ll give you a minute to go grab your headphones and your iTunes gift cards, because after you hear this you will most certainly want to go buy it for your listening pleasure.  The lyrics are what I want you to pay most attention to.  They are listed here.  He captures all that I feel in my earlier post about humans responding to humans.  The song talks about empathy and walking in someone else’s shoes.  I was asked by someone recently how I do it.  How do I motivate kids to do such great things?  I, quite frankly have no idea, I really don’t have a magic outline or flow chart that gets me from point A to point B.  I think that some of it is because I have learned the art of empathy.  I remember how it feels to be that age, and all the hardships that go with it.  I know the struggles of learning how to sing, as it didn’t come easy to me.  I am always trying to really get to know my students and that inevitably opens up the doors to caring about each other and wanting to make each other’s lives better.  All while pursuing beautiful experiences.  John Ondrasik asks “what if I had your heart, what if you wore my scars, how would we break down, what if you were me what if I were you”.  Humans responding to humans.  So click the link above to read the lyrics and then listen.  REALLY listen.  Close your eyes, turn off distractions, and LISTEN.  A cool think about this song that I like to point out is that it ends unresolved, like a big question mark.  Listen for that too.

So now go do what the man says.

Have a wonderful day full of empathy.

More Later


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