Coed, independent, PK3-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Power of Empathy

by Adriana Hollenbeck, Head of The Experiential School of Tampa Bay
When I learned that I had broken my ankle, I instinctively created a list in my head of things that were not going to work well. I could picture the inconveniences, the limitations, the disruption… and I could feel the pain because broken bones do hurt quite a bit.

After figuring out the new logistics, I returned to campus hoping the days would be as normal as possible, but the one thing I did not anticipate was the reaction of the children.

Some could not hide their natural curiosity given the size and shape of my air cast boot. They needed to ask me more questions about what they identified as a part of a robot of sorts. And they were right. I answered the questions to the best of my ability and allowed them to check the button that pumps the air that keeps my foot snug and tight.

What I didn’t anticipate was the outpouring of kindness demonstrated by your children.
They deeply cared and I can’t tell you how many of them approached me to ask if I was ok, if I was going to be ok, if it was hurting, if I needed help.

Their unscripted demonstration of empathy was another lightbulb moment for me.

Think about this group of very young human beings and how essentially kind they are: this is the glue that connects us all. It’s their experiences at home, with peers, with the world around them that have been setting the tone and this is indeed such a precious gift.

It makes our jobs that much more important because our role is to acknowledge and protect the goodness that is so pure in their hearts.

I am the one who is supposed to be taking care of the littles, but I can’t lie -- their love and compassion showed me that this is a two way street and it feels very good to witness that we are indeed on the right track here. It is evidence that the sense of community we talk so much about is understood at an early age. They feel like they belong and they accept the responsibility of caring for others. Compassion is one of Shorecrest’s core values. Let’s check that box, parents!

Shorecrest Preparatory School

5101 First Street Northeast
St Petersburg, FL 33703
Phone: (727) 522-2111  |  Fax: (727) 527-4191
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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.