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Roots of Empathy: Changing the World, Child by Child Hardcover – Aug 27 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Allen Publishers; 1 edition (Aug. 27 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887621287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887621284
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 658 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #223,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had never heard of the movement to take parents and young babies in to schools. It seemed like such a fine idea and the studies done evaluating the programs proved that children learned a lot from these sessions. Anything at all that will reduce children's anger and alienation should be implemented by caring adults. We throw away "kids" like disposable diapers, all over the world, even in civilized countries!
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Format: Paperback
j'ai bien lu la traduction du premier chapitre du livre sur le site de Racines de l'empathie. Pouvez-vous me dire comment me procurer la suite en français??
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By CMR on Dec 14 2011
Format: Paperback
Imagine teaching children empathy using baby power! This is the most amazing system for awakening the true human-ness in our children. Eveyone needs to learn about this.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gaston Madrid on April 13 2010
Format: Hardcover
roots of emphaty starts teaching children and adults together
about needs and feelings at a very young age.
the teaching is by experimenting with the reality of feelings of kids
months old and their parents. they learn together about this issue.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 13 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Everyone needs to read this great Book! Jan. 14 2011
By Bonny Corbeil - Published on
Verified Purchase
If everyone learned at a young age the importance of true compassion, understanding and empathy for other human beings- our world would be very different.
Teaching children information is very different than creating an experience to find out how others feel.
This critically helps us realize our common our behavior affects others...what our emotions are...and how what we first-think, say and do -deeply impacts others.It leads to self-responsibilty-excatly what we all need more of.
This is critically important!
This Book and Program shows us how to incorportae this in our schools...through their interactions with babies.
What else happens that is quite amazing is that it gets children to open up about their own feelings...either form their time as babies or in how they may be felling in the "here and now"-
something that is very important.
Thanks for writing this book. I am hoping many others discover it.
Sincerely, Bonny Corbeil.
Virgin Islands.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
To teach kids emotional intelligence, don't tell them, show them May 6 2012
By Sam - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mary Gordon grew up in a family of super-feelers, with parents deeply concerned about social justice. She couldn't buy black Mary Janes because little girls in India did not have shoes at all. And her family dinner table often included newly released convicts, invited for their first hot meal as free men. Gordon has now taken her extraordinarily high Emotional Intelligence and created a program to spread empathy across the globe, starting with elementary-age children.

The Roots of Empathy program brings newborns into the classroom once a month and uses the experience to build lessons about relationships, parenting, and empathy. The program has been successful in reducing bullying, abusive parenting, and prejudice.

Parents should read Roots of Empathy to learn real-world strategies for encouraging empathy in their own children. Gordon writes, "The instructor uses well-known children's literature to illustrate emotions such as loneliness and sadness and to underscore themes such as inclusion and bullying." Parents can use storytime to talk about feelings with their children, opening up the opportunity for those conversations later in life.

Gordon's overarching premise is that babies are uniquely positioned to teach emotional literacy. Students learn by "observing the baby's experiences and the emotions they inspire; naming the emotions; anchoring the emotion in themselves privately through discussion; reflection, art, and journaling; and discussing their feelings with others." Parents too can take lessons from this progression. The next time your child sees a kid crying is an opportunity for you to help you child expand his or her emotional intelligence.

Gordon also points out practices that inhibit the development of empathy. "Labeling children as the 'Down syndrome child' or the 'immigrant child' is a failure of inclusion," she writes. "It is defining people by their differences and erecting barriers to recognizing their achievements and contributions." Conversely, showing children their commonality with others paves the way for them to be caring, giving adults. The authors of the The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement similarly found that the most effective way to combat the growing wave of narcissism in American society is to create a sense connection with others. They wrote, "When we see ourselves as connected to others, egotism dissipates." Gordon's book puts a how-to lesson behind that conclusion.

Gordon's book, however, is devoid of sociological or psychological research. The book is aspirational, along the lines of, if every classroom adopted the Roots of Empathy, we could change the world. This is repeated over and over in different variants and slows the book down at times.

The book also includes a few dozen drawings from Roots of Empathy students, showing what their wishes for the infants that have acted as their teachers during the school year. Some kids wish for people to be nice to the baby. Others wish for the baby to have safe housing, or to live in a world with no war. The lesson from the drawings is that kids are naturally empathetic, and we only need to encourage those feelings to emerge. Gordon never discusses politics, but the reader might be struck by the fact that none of the children are concerned about wealth transfers or military strength, two constant themes in American political discussion. So there is a political lesson in this book as well: Our children display a natural capacity for empathy. This ingrained concern for others can flourish, if only we seek to show people what they have in common, instead of what pulls them apart. Most American political talk today, however, is about fights among factions--rich versus poor, Keynes versus Hayek, conservative versus progressive. Those divisive conversations kill empathy at its root, and there aren't powerful forces out there to create a balance. We've left it up to people like Mary Gordon to save our natural empathic natures from this destruction. But we need to do more to help them succeed.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
extraordinary program for developing empathy Aug. 6 2010
By Barbara D. Gilbert - Published on
Verified Purchase
As a social worker who has been running parenting groups for mothers referred by Child Protective Services for a few years now, I loved this book and the brilliant work and program Dr. Mary Gordon describes in it. I would so love to see this program in all our schools here in the States as I firmly believe it would help our children develop better social and emotional skills on multiple levels. In fact, the kind of sensitive, gentle observing and interacting that this program describes and encourages in the classroom would benefit all of us as it really focuses empathic attention and attunement right where it's needed most, with our infants and young children.
Inspiring! Jan. 29 2014
By Shch - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
I loved the book, I think it is a "must read" for all parents and educators. It is full of hope, insight, and genuine care and love for children and humanity.
Very valuable resource May 9 2013
By Anne - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book explains the need for empathy education, as well as how using babies as ambassadors for empathy can change classroom and school climate. Well written and organized for anybody interested in creating a similar program.

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