Empathy for and in times of peace

Ten years ago Dina Buchbinder* and a group of people considered the possibility of forming better citizens from childhood through the game.

Thus, they took on the task of working hand in hand with teachers from all regions in Mexico, to set in motion a playful methodology that, in an experiential manner, would highlight civic values such as respect, teamwork, equity, gender, tolerance, fair play, among others. The spirit? That children discover -from their own experiences- why they choose, and what it means, to experience models of life with those values or attributes, and how through them they manage to be better human beings -objective-.

And is that, according to Dina, based on these attributes games allow children to decide on how they want to be in the world. This is how the Education to Share Foundation was born. The games developed in the foundation are related to the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.

The current times are turbulent. Nationalist sentiments and separatist movements have resurfaced and are now more evident, and a value such as empathy is key to "relate in a different way and be able to understand that each action we exercise has an impact on the environment, among those around us" , Explain.

Empathy has been conceived as 'putting oneself in another's shoes'. However, for Dina Buchbinder, this concept has become so ingrained that it is necessary to see other possibilities. In that sense, he says, the important thing is to understand the perspectives of others. “It is not enough to put on the bigger or smaller shoes of the other. What is really about is having the real availability of "wanting to listen", but also, the willingness to "try to understand”.

These two components imply the possibility of integrating perspectives that "are not necessarily yours, but are as valid as yours, and facilitate, for example, how to team up with people who think diametrically opposed to us".

For the Colombian case, an empathy in times of peace -the steps that are being taken towards reconciliation - essentially requires focusing on the narratives that must be handled for the new generations.

These narratives of empathy, explains Dina Buchbinder, should be focused on how to unite and not divide. And perhaps one of the first steps to achieve this should be to put on the table what are the common interests and what are the means to achieve them. With the current polarization in the country, "empathy is a useful tool that can change the divisive narratives that are still perceived".

*Consideraciones hechas en entrevista en el marco del Primer encuentro de Educación Transformadora realizado en el CESA los días 9 y 10 de noviembre, en el que participó Dina Buschbinder.