Empathy in Action
Sitting together after dinner, Greg, Harry’s dad, is channel surfing and Harry, a seventh grader, is playing a game on his iPad.
“Dad, did my science teacher contact you?”
“No,” Greg replies as he clicks the TV off and turns to focus on Harry. “You, okay?”
“I’m pretty sure my science teacher heard me mutter the ‘S’ word under my breath when he announced new lab partners. He put Peyton and me together. Earlier when we were doing test corrections, he came by and told me he appreciated my positive attitude. It was a set up. Bam! I get the worst kid in class for my partner!”
“I’m sorry. I don’t blame you for being angry,” Greg comments gently.
“Why do teachers think putting the worst kid with a good kid is going to help the good kid? I’m a good kid and I get punished!”
“You’ve got a point,” Greg says.”
“I wouldn’t mind once in a while, but every stinkin’ time this happens to me! It’s not fair.”
“Sounds like you feel like you’re being treated unfairly. Do you have some options, Harry?”
“I’ve got no options, dad.” Harry’s face reddens. “Mr. Kennedy said no changes and no complaining. He looked at me when he said ‘do your best.’ I will have to figure it out,” Harry nods at his dad.
“I know you can and will, Harry. You’re a good leader. I want to know how it goes.”
Greg taps Harry on the leg to keep his attention. “Now, about the ‘S’ word, Harry. If you use language the school forbids, they, and I, will have to deal with it. I’d rather not have to do that. Will you agree to control what comes out of your mouth? I know it is not easy. Can you do this?”
“I know you will.” Greg reaches around Harry’s shoulder and hugs him.