Inclusive: Listens to others with Empathy

The newly revised competencies of a TRP include five key qualities. Each of them describes important aspects of our highest ethical character. This month we’ll explore the quality of Inclusive. You can see all five qualities here.

What we see with our eyes is quickly interpreted by our brains as “what is different” about each of us. We perceive differences and create biases without even knowing it, and then these perceived differences become our reality. He is tall. She is young. He is Black. She is Asian. She is disabled… We take information in so quickly that if we believe the surface inputs that our five sense perceive, we end up reacting to the world around us instead of responding to it. We have to go beyond and use our capacity for empathy.

To listen with empathy is to consider more than what others say. It is to consider who they are at their core, and what they yearn for in their hearts. Even the attempt to listen with empathy can be challenging when we discover how much of what we think we know and understand about someone else may simply not be true. Challenging though it may seem at times, the desire to connect with one another at deeper levels can drive us to discover our mutual gifts and celebrate not just our differences, but cherish how interconnected we all are. When we can do this well, what kind of world will we create?

In a recent TRP training we discovered a brilliant essay written by a young teen for a Rotary assignment. The author, Erin, has a disability that has caused her to re-think how other perceive her, and how she perceives others. You’ll enjoy this short essay and the wisdom Erin carries as she reflects on, “Is it the truth?” “Is it fair to all concerned?” “Will it build goodwill and better friendships?” and “Is it beneficial to all?” Erin’s essay on Parent2Parent.