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ERIC Number: EJ937260
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0145-9635
Smart Empathy: Cultivating a Self-Reliant Parent Body in Times of Crisis
Mogel, Wendy
Independent School, v69 n2 Win 2010
How far should a school go in helping families with their myriad problems? Empathy is admirable. But schools need to get smarter about how and when and in what form they provide support for their families. People who choose to work in schools are, by nature, eager to help others. But institutions are weakened by trying to be all things to all people. A school's commitment to parents is to educate the children it admits as best it can. If administrators and staff act as payday loan windows, pastoral counselors, marriage therapists, experts in every special need, and all-around pals, it is not possible to do much of anything very well. Schools do not have the time, the money, or the expertise. In troubled times, schools can remain compassionate and vibrant communities, "only" if they resist pity, overindulgence, or overidentification with families--even those who are favored or aggressively miserable. This means having a clear view of responsibility, of who owns which problems. In this article, the author discusses how to cultivate a self-reliant parent body in times of crisis. When schools focus their energies on being the best educators possible rather than being all things to all people, families have an opportunity to mature and to learn to take care of themselves and each other. Finding opportunity in a time of crisis both strengthens the community and grows healthy social capital in a time when it is so desperately needed.
National Association of Independent Schools. 1620 L Street NW Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-793-6701; Tel: 202-973-9700; Fax: 202-973-9790; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Washington