Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Empathy!

An "a-ha" moment for Bud last night, when he climbed into the mind of another and empathized!

As I've mentioned previously, I am always working with Bud on "theory of mind" issues: "how does that child feel, and why?" sorts of things. He has gotten very good at identifying another's emotion, but not at understanding another's motivation.

Then, last night we were reading a book called "Ricardo's Day," which is a picture book that walks us through Ricardo's day at school. Ricardo's mom brings him to school and stays in the classroom to get him settled, then leaves for work. We see a very forlorn Ricardo gazing out the window after his mother. Bud spent a long time looking at the picture, then said "Mom, he's sad."

I said, "You're right; he is sad. Why is he sad?" I expected "he's frown," or "he's sad face," or some other statement from Bud's own perspective: "this is what I see that tells me he's sad."

But Bud was quiet for a minute, and I could tell he was struggling to find the right words. Then he said, "He's love her mom."

I just about melted. Forget syntax. Forget the mismatched gender-specific pronouns. My boy has empathy!

3 comments:

gwuinifer said...

*teary-eyed*

i can't wait for that moment. it sounds like how i felt the first time my son told me that he loved me. no one but me and my husband could tell that's what he was saying- but we could tell. and it was enough. the tender look in his eyes, on his face, the gentle stroke on my cheek as he quieted in my arms- it was unmistakable. i worried i would never hear it. and when i did... indescribable.

congratulations to bud!

-AND to you!

Amanda Sue said...

stumbled on your site and i thoroughly enjoyed it. thank you for being willing to share your stories! bud sounds like a very special little guy.

:)

Moi ;) said...

That's so neat. :)

You know, he is going to get better and better at this stuff, the older he gets, the more services he gets. You never think it's going to happen, and poof! One day it does! You will see more and more of it, too.

They say our kids don't have emotions or empathy - it's not that at all. They can't put themselves in others' places UNLESS they have felt the feelings themselves. It's a BTDT moment. That's really the ticket. When it happens to them, or if someone explains it so they recognize if it's happened already, they begin to recognize future occurrences and then they relate.