O stands for horse

October 30, 2009 at 5:00 am Leave a comment

I found myself musing about empathy skills today, when my children came up with some “feelings” they were feeling. For example:


This is a necklace Xi has been wearing lately. The “O”stands for horse, as in h.”O”.r.s.e. (I love the six year old mind and how it can modify any object, situation, or event to match their current obsession). So I asked her how she feels when she wears that necklace, and she said:

“I feel like I want to wear it for the rest of my life.”

Well, I surely can imagine a feeling such as this, but technically it lacks a certain… precision.

And then Echo has been making this face lately:


I showed her this picture and asked her how she feels when she is making this face. She said:

“Like I want to hit something.”

Again, the sentiment is crystal clear, but you wouldn’t find this emotion on the Center for Nonviolent Communication website.

On a side note, Echo really has been hitting things lately.

“This is my wacker-cracker! And I am going to whack you! Whack! Whack!”

“Ow! Your whacker-cracker is hurting me,

will you whacker-cracker something else?”

So I began to muse over empathy, and vocabulary. I certainly thought, in the back of my mind somewhere, that we were raising empathy geniuses. Well it turns out that I am just “above average” when it comes to empathy, according to this empathy test. Ha ha! Who knew?

This “news” sort of brought me back down to earth. I shouldn’t look for tests and vocabulary to verify empathic skills. Empathy is not meant for that realm. Instead, I should watch our six year old, who is afraid of cats, make room on the couch for our big feline beast. I should watch our two year old wield her whacker-cracker ever so gently against the tip of my shoe so that she can keep whacking, and I can stay safe. This is where to look. And, as it turns out, these girls are doing just fine. I don’t need a test to tell me that.

Entry filed under: empathy. Tags: , , , , .

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