Joey Garcia’s action may have transformed a youth’s life. In response to a break-in in her house by a teenager, instead of screaming out of fear, she empathetically asked him, “What are you doing with your life?”
Hearing this question the youth froze, pondered the question, backed out of the window, and ran away.
What happened? What kind of powerful message such a simple question may have delivered? I started thinking and my analytical mind started to put together pieces. Here is one way that I can explain.
First, I feel that such a reaction came out of Joey’s inherent nature of being empathetic; out of authentic and unconditional love and care for other humans.
She had a reaction pattern of being empathetic.
Beside the words she delivered an emotional message that she truly cared about the youth. Her love for the youth allowed him to not react with fear (and do something harmful) but to engage his thinking brain in search for an answer, keep his cool, recognize the consequences, and make an intentional healthy choice.
Applying Consequential Thinking is one of the eight skills of emotional intelligence.
I don’t really know what future choices this youth made and how his life turned out to be; but for that moment there was a spark of transformation within him.
This is an excellent example of an emotionally intelligent interaction that raised the tide positively in all lives involved.
According to a researcher, Simon Baron Cohen, empathy is about seeing other people as humans and not an object that we can label.
I have determined that from now on I’ll practice to build one of my reaction patterns to consider a person I interact with as a human, rather than a label (stubborn, idiot, thief, etc.) I hope to consider what other reasons the person may have for acting the way he or she did.
- Original story in Joey’s words
- Another example: how a teacher enabled two hostile kids to be friends
Love to hear any comments. Have you had similar experience?