THE EMPATHY DEFICIT
The term, “empathy deficit,” was first used by President Obama who cautioned against the dangers of not identifying with or caring about others in a 2006 speech to University students.
“There's a lot of talk in this country about the federal deficit. But I think we should talk more about our empathy deficit—the ability to put ourselves in someone else's shoes; to see the world through the eyes of those who are different from us—the child who's hungry, the steelworker who's been laid-off, the family who lost the entire life they built together when the storm came to town. When you think like this, when you choose to broaden your ambit of concern and empathize with the plight of others, whether they are close friends or distant strangers, it becomes harder not to act; harder not to help.”
In 2010, the University of Michigan released the results of a study1 that revealed empathy levels in the West have declined over the past 30 years, with a particularly steep drop occurring during the last 10 years. Another study2 covering the same time period showed self-absorption has reached new heights, a development that is tied to our increasing inability and unwillingness to empathize with others.
It doesn’t take a passel of studies for us to know that decreased empathy does not bode well for our children, our country or the world. It’s time to counteract this alarming trend.
Core Empathy strives to create systemic change in our educational system by giving teachers the curriculum and classroom strategies to cultivate empathy and compassionate living skills on all grade levels.
1Konrath, Sara H.; O’Brien, Edward H.; Hsing, Courtney. (2010). Changes in Dispositional Empathy in American College Students Over Time: A Meta-Analysis. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan. [http://psr.sagepub.com/content/15/2/180]2Twenge, Jean M.; Campbell, W. Keith. (2009). The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement. New York, NY: Free Press, Simon and Schuster, Inc. [http://www.narcissismepidemic.com/]