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  • Paul Condello

Associated Experiences

Experiences profoundly shape a person's empathy and way of looking at others.


A family situation can profoundly affect a person's sense of empathy.

Consider a young girl who grows up with a younger sister who is physically and mentally different from others, needing specialized help at school and other places. That girl will likely develop a profound sense of empathy for other people like her sister. A family situation can profoundly affect a person's sense of empathy. Another child the same age as that girl who doesn't have that kind of family experience might instead find humor in belittling someone who is different without much of a care.


There are various factors that affect a person's empathy and how they view others, but a person's life experience is a particularly strong one. Talking to someone about a topic several times in passing often doesn't communicate what an involved experience can. It is valuable for Christian teachers and parents to understand this human influence in order to better understand how to teach others about God's love. It also helps Christians better understand why even good arguments in favor of a way of thinking do not always have a transformative impact on a person's outlook.


Finding ways to associate experiences with teachings, such as regularly inviting young people into a nursing home in tandem with learning to respect and care about the elderly is one example. This helps create an experience for an individual where one may not have been naturally afforded, which in relation to the last example could have been growing up in a home with an elderly grandparent. These experiences can shape the defining characteristics of a person's empathy and outlook on others.




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