Somewhere in my running about, I picked up a small brochure titled, “How to Cultivate Empathy,” by Lorene Hanley Duquin. She writes, "Empathy is from the German word, Eingühlung, which means to ‘feel at one with.’ When you empathize with someone, you enter into that person’s emotional or physical pain. You see whatever happened from that person’s perspective.”
She goes on to define three types of empathy: cognitive, emotional, and compassionate.
At Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, quite simply, empathy has been terrorized out of many of our children. Often, when children come into our care, we hear, “They just don't seem to understand how much what they are doing hurts others. They don't seem to see the pain they are causing! There is just something missing!”
And, sadly, that is often true. They are missing empathy.
Over the years we have used different words for this coping response. We say soldiers come back from battle “hardened.” Domestic violence victims are “withdrawn.” Even with COVID, we have become “numb” to the information.
Ranch children have needed to focus, like a soldier or other victims, on survival. They haven’t had the luxury of lifting their heads and caring about the bigger world. They have needed to plan their next move carefully to stay safe.
So, at the Ranch we model, teach, and celebrate empathy. When our kids show true empathy, it is a sign they are healing.
I was copied on an email about one of our girls in care. “ ‘A’ has a cold and didn’t want to go roller-skating with the other kids. ‘C’ decided to stay back with her so ‘A’ wouldn’t be the only kid that didn’t go. They will have dinner together with staff in the cottage.”
That, my friends, is budding empathy.
Please keep our kids and staff in your prayers.
In His love,
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
If you are a Thrivent Financial member, you may have Thrivent Choice Dollars® available to direct. Your Choice Dollars® can be directed to multiple organizations each year. Please consider choosing Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch as one place you direct your Choice Dollars®. All Thrivent Choice Dollars® are used to fund our Spiritual Life Program, giving our children the opportunity to grow in their faith and learn about their loving Heavenly Father. To direct your Choice Dollars® to Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, go to Thrivent.com/thriventchoice. You can also direct your Choice Dollars® over the phone by calling 1-800-847-4836, and say "Thrivent Choice," after the prompt. The deadline is MARCH 31st, so direct your Choice Dollars® today!
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