Empathy, Humility, Sincerity

Empathy: a person’s emotional participation in the reality of another

That’s a difficult thing to practice these days, even if you work in a social outreach organization or are a strong leader in the church. Why is empathy so difficult to achieve? It’s hard to find a response, but I think if we do some introspection and think about our childhood we’ll find lots of moments when we helped other people, even other kids, selflessly and with enthusiasm, having a strong positive impact on the individuals that surround us by feeling the pain of others. 

A recent moment where I saw this empathy was a Thursday afternoon while I observed an LJA Franklin help Cecilia, another LJA, learn to rider a bike and keep her balance, even though they both had zero stability and were beginners in cycling. How was this possible? It happened naturally, without even asking him. At the beginning I was helping Cecilia keep her balance, which was harder for her than for Franklin, but there was a moment when I got tired of walking with her and I sat down while I watched Franklin take the bike as his brother Alex helped him keep his balance.

When Franklin had gone several laps I told him it was Cecilia’s turn, and that was when I saw the “miracle.” Franklin didn’t only give up the bike, but also helped Cecilia get on the bike and said, “I’ll push her and help her keep her balance.” I took a seat without noticing the great message that I’m reflecting on now: the simplicity, humility, and empathy kids have is incredible and it’s in front of us all the time. I don’t want to generalize because there are always kids prone to selfishness, who like to fight or have control of the situation, but Franklin gave me the greatest example of empathy in the last few months.

Franklin continued helping Cecilia the next three Thursdays (and Cecilia automatically returned the favor), and a few weeks ago Cecilia was able to ride the bike by herself without help. Cecilia may never thank Franklin and vice versa, and they may never know what they did and the impact it had on me; but I have no doubt that both of them are great examples of self-improvement, humility, and sincere love for their neighbors.

Let’s be more like this kind of children with less selfishness and more sincere acts of love, remembering the works of our Lord Jesus: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3), and I have no doubt that our society will be directed by the leaders we’re looking for: those with integrity and values such as awareness of the pain and needs of others. Let’s help others to “keep their balance,” and the favor may be returned by the people we least expect.

Luis Ortiz - UrbanTrekkers Director