Unself Committment

Submitted By:
Jessica Flaxman, Charlotte Country Day School, Charlotte, NC

Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World by Michelle Borba, Ed.D
Touchstone, Simon & Schuster, June 1, 2016

Empathy – the ability to feel what others feel – is a crucial human competency and always has been. And while schools have often been intentional about instilling empathy in children, at no time in history has empathy been more important to education than it is today, in an era awash in technology that paradoxically puts distance between us as it brings us closer. In Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World, Dr. Michelle Borba explains the imperative educators face in the midst of the “self-absorption epidemic” brought about by smartphones and social media. Technology’s known impact on empathy levels in children is especially concerning, says Borba, as it suppresses or diminishes their ability to collaborate, innovate and problem solve. In chapters brimming with step-by-step guides, Borba lays out clear frameworks for developing, practicing and living empathy both in and out of school. Simple actions on the part of adults, such as being friendly, listening to kids’ voices and playing games with them, may counteract some of the self-absorption that threatens the selfie generation. This book reminds educators that teaching empathy is a shared curriculum transcending age, time and place.

Psychology & Human Development
Social-Emotional Learning