Earlier this week, my heart sank as I watched live footage of Notre Dame be consumed by fire. Like many language teachers, my world travels have brought me to Paris several times, and by extension Notre Dame. Like many language teachers, I feel a connection to Notre Dame. Watching it burn was sad because it wasn’t just a loss; it was my loss.

I know that I am not the only one who felt this way. My Facebook news feed that evening was filled with friends and colleagues sharing their personal connections with the cathedral: photos from previous visits, descriptions of what it felt like to stand inside, recalled itineraries.

This afternoon, more than 200 people perished at the hands of suicide bombings in Sri Lanka. The story is not absent from my Facebook news feed, but it has not overtaken my news feed.

I know hundreds of French teachers, French people, and people that have traveled to France. I’m not sure that I know anyone from Sri Lanka. It is not surprising that my news feed is not flooded with people mourning this tragedy–this loss of human life.

We care the most when we are connected the most.

I say this without judgment; because if I am being honest, my reaction to the news of the fire at Notre Dame was more immediate, more guttural than my reaction to the news of the bombing. How could that be? What kind of a sick human am I? The loss of a building made me more sad than the loss of human life?

In my head, I care infinitely more about about a human tragedy. So why didn’t my emotional reaction show that?

Emotions are not right or wrong; they just are.

To change the world, connect the world.

If we want to build empathy in our students selves–and I know that we do–we must create connections. We must connect our students selves to each other; to our planet; to people and to causes.

“Logic makes us think; emotion makes us act.”

BOLD Law – KW Maps Coaching

Emotion makes us post on Facebook, donate to a cause, call a Congressman, reach out to someone in need. Emotion makes a difference. Connection ushers in emotion.

What connections will you create this week?

4 replies on “We care the most when we are most connected.

  1. I had many coworkers from Sri Lanka at the Montessori school where I taught French and Spanish. They were the most kind, loving and caring people I have ever known.

    Yes, the Notre Dame fire was heart wrenching for me, however it is nothing compared to the tragic loss of human life in Sri Lanka… or ANY other country.

    Ever since I watched the breaking coverage of the Lockerbie, Scotland crash as a student in Paris, l have felt a personal connection to people & events around the globe.

    Before the flight origin was known, I stood in shock before the tv screen. I feared for my classmates traveling home for the holidays. Were they on the fragmented plane that was engulfed in flames on the tv screen? Thankfully my friends were safe…but someone else’s friends or family were never going home again…ever. From that senseless tragedy on, I get the same gut wrenching sensation.

    1. Maybe it is the international background of your studies and professional life… or were at a particularly sensitive stage of life when the Lockerbie incident occurred…it is great (or maybe not) that you feel the loss so strongly no matter where/ what the tragedy occurs.
      I admit that I felt the same way as Martina, and appreciate her acknowledging the seemingly irrational reaction to the different events.

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