Teaching Empathy Early

This is a truly sweet story, about FSU football player Travis Rudolph sharing a table with Bo Paske, a sixth grader with Autism, at a school visit last week. While it’s important to focus on the positives of a story like this – like the great example Rudolph is setting for the students at that school – it’s also important to keep in mind why Paske was sitting by himself. Isolation can be one form of bullying, and we need to teach children from a young age to accept people who are a little different than they are. Rudolph was simply doing the right thing, and it’s a little crazy that we’re commending him for what should have been a no-brainer for the rest of those students. Both teachers and parents have some serious work to do when it comes to instilling empathy and the golden rule, so these kids don’t continue to shun those who are different for the rest of their lives.

Image courtesy Florida State Athletics