telling stories, hearing lives

Empathy and Friendship — Community Engagement Project

Lea Kozulic, Susan Smith, Emily Tyler

We learned that the empathy is the capacity to understand what another person is experiencing from within the that person’s frame of reference. In the movie Bully, noone really felt or experienced empathy with Alex besides his parents who went to see the principal who were devastated and desperate because they knew what their son was going through and they couldn’t have helped him on their own. Principal on the other hand, didn’t really show signs of empathy with the parents because she said she would help them in fall and she did not. Finally, she intervened and asked her assistant to work on the case but it didn’t end up being very effective because children kept teasing him and the boy ended up being scared even more. Same thing with the girl named Kelly who was a lesbian. In the end of the movie, she said that “maybe there’s other place she could go and make a difference”. But, not here.
Obviously, forcing the children to the things they don’t really want to do, won’t make them stop teasing other kids because they can’t think rationally – or ’empathically’ – at their age. Their emotional intelligence isn’t developed enough for them to percieve what is right or what is wrong. It’s all about how their idols or role models influence them. This is where the role of parents comes up. Parents are children’s role models at young age. They copy their moves and want to be like them. Throughout the readings and the book The Bluest Eye, we could learn and a lot and expand our views about the power of role models. There was a big difference in the attitude of Pecola and Claudia towards themselves and the fact they were black. It all depended a lot about their role models. Pecola didn’t have good role models because here parents were a mess themselves and didn’t appreciate their own lives. They accepted the life a misery which was something that started in their own heads at their very young age. On the other hand, Claudia was lucky enough to have a somehow stable family where people loved and supported each other.
This is why it’s important to give a good example of being a good and strong person to kids at the very young age. It’s important to teach them mannerism and good values. It’s important to teach them to respect other people and the differences between us. It is important to teach them that we are all equal but different as well. That is the art of nurturing. This is where empathy really is important. It is easy to identify with people who have very similar habits as you do, but how are you going to teach your kids to respect people who are different, but at the same time the same as you are? It all starts at young age and this is where parents teach their kids how to respect kids and identify themselves with others. One of the good ways would be to ask their kids how would they feel if they were bullied? How would they feel if they would have been in the bullied kid’s skin? Probably not very good. This is why we created a poster that would remind the children that it is their choice whether they are going to be bullies and to make it look bad. It is also important to treat those kids as young adults because that’s how they want to be treated so it reminds them that everyone has issues of their own that we need to respect.










  1. Sandra Patton-Imani

    Angela Giannetto
    Empathy and Friendship
    I thought they did a good job of trying to think of ways to get the bully to step into the victims shoes. Allowing the child to stop and think of what they are doing before they are the bully.

  2. Marial Williams

    I love your visual presentation. I think it is a really good way to present to the public what empathy means when it comes to bullying, but also just in our daily lives. The visual is great in this way because while it could be used in schools and for children, it is also something that would serve as a great reminder for adults in the work world and just the “real world” to have empathy.

  3. Eric Olsen

    Empathy is so vital when forming relationships with those around us. Being able to empathize with our peers makes us much more susceptible to reaching out to them and helping them cope with situations they are currently dealing with. I really enjoyed your approach, especially highlighting that kids desperately need to empathize with their fellow students to understand what is going on in each other’s lives.

  4. Allie Calvert

    Another great project, your group does a very great job showing the public empathy side of the issue. Along with showing that bullies should step into victims. Bullies should really stop and think about what they are about to do and how it effects the victim, and the victims family. Overall this was a great visual as well, it made it an easier approach, and it highlighted multiple different key figures such as kids desperation to empathize with other students.

  5. Reed Timmer

    I really liked how this group used powerpoint for their visual as it gave a really clear overall message about empathy and friendship in relation to bullying. I agree with how crucial empathy and friendship is in any bullying situation because it establishes a special relationship that victims can turn to for help or just to express their feelings. It can also lead to the situation ending in a positive way, as opposed to it ending badly without empathy and friendship present. The visual was a very clear way of demonstrating all the aspects of the topic.

  6. Sandra Patton-Imani

    Allie Calvert
    Empathy and Friendship as Bullying Prevention Summer WGS:
    In this post, you talk a lot about how the children’s literature and songs that were produce was a really good thing. I do agree with this, however, I would like to see what you believe the trouble might have been with producing a strong album like Free to Be… You and Me? Increased empathy is something that is very strong and can be looked at in a completely different way. If people can start to realize what is going on and feeling the emotions that other people are feeling, then it changes the way people feel for the subject. Good Post!

  7. Anna Burns

    I thought this was a good post on how empathy relates to bullying and how essential it is. They did a good job at explaining how administrators, family members, and friends need to really empathize with the person being bullied in order to help them. The powerpoint they had was well written and informative as well and was a nice addition to their post.

  8. Hannah Hennessy

    This post is essentially demonstrating the lead by example style. Teaching good values and displaying good values at the same time encourages kids to want to be that way. This sets them up to make better decisions and value differences in people not bully them for it.

  9. Brandon Bader

    I agree with what you said about how young everything starts. From birth we are being socialized and we teach people how to treat others. Kids often emulate what they see so it is up to older influences to make sure that they are setting the best examples possible and realize that their actions can really cause damage to someone else.

  10. Tasha Alexander

    I think empathy and friendship is a huge part in bullying and I really like what you’ve done with this how completely agree with how the bully should see it from the bullied side and see how it feels I really think this could have a strong impact on the bully. I also really enjoyed your presentation and think that it was a good way to show your points and putting that up in schools would really get to kids and help them understand.

  11. Kelly Read

    I really liked your presentation. It was very informational about empathy. I would, though, make
    a few more slides in the power point presentation, they seem a little wordy. Informational though!
    I liked that you used some color visuals as well. The topic of empathy and how it fits into the ‘bullying’ arena is very important and you emphasized that very well.

  12. Sandra Patton-Imani

    Zachary Berman
    Empathy & Friendship:
    You did well defining empathy and emphasizing the need for adults to utilize it in teaching kids not to bully. It provides an increased understanding of other people’s emotions, which can prevent previously unrecognized harmful actions.

  13. Sandra Patton-Imani

    Pamela Mulhern
    Empathy and Friendship:
    I love the idea of making a powerpoint to help teach students and administration in such an obviously educationally themed manner. I think it’s so important for kids to empathize with the victims of bullying, whether it’s the bully or a bystander. I feel it’s even important to try and understand the reasoning behind a bully’s intention.

  14. Katrena Gillis

    great post.
    “This is why it’s important to give a good example of being a good and strong person to kids at the very young age. It’s important to teach them mannerism and good values. It’s important to teach them to respect other people and the differences between us. It is important to teach them that we are all equal but different as well.”
    Exactly! This is what needs to be done from an early age.