Empathy Friday #4 : Reading to Dogs…Man, Deradicalizing Extremists, Chats with Friends

Happy day Empathy Friday, November 16th 2018 everyone! This is your end of the day, end of the work week, empathy in the world round up. Articles, quotes, exercises, and a single question from Empathy Lab for you to start your weekend.

This week was saturated with emotions. From the absolute lows from the

Here goes Empathy Friday #4!

One question
one picture,
one article on empathy,
and a quick list of things we’ve found / been shared.

Your Weekend’s Question:

What is the last graphic novel OR comic book you’ve read?


Want to share your answer, please let us know friday@empathylab.io. If you are looking for a graphic novel to pull you and open your awareness, try March, Book 3. Yes, I know there are 2 before it… you can always go backwards.

Pictures of Empathy


TLDR: Reading to your dog can increase empathy and kindness. So, be a dog-like friend to other people when they talk; listen, wag your bum-bum, and bark encouraging sounds at them. Maybe put your paw on their arm.

The other night I asked my daughter, Juliette, to read to her brother, Grayson, and I. She gleefully agreed and read the final chapter of DogMan : A Tale of Two Kitties to us so we set up a pillow fort on her bed and listened in. I won’t spoil it for you, but that darn Petey is a sneaky cat. After the story came to a close, George and Harold of Captain Underpants Fame, talked about all the great things that happen when kids read to a dog (UC Davis Research). Better communication skills, confidence booster, and increase empathy and kindness are just some of the measured results. Why are there increases in these personal and social skills? Because the dog cannot judge and the kid gets to practice with a thing that gives positive feedback, tail wags, and licks.

Now, since we are a cat household at the moment, Juliette asked if this work with cats too. I suspect that if she can keep our cat, Carmen, in one place long enough, the positive results may follow.

So, how does this practice of reading to a dog translate to the building of empathy with adults? Adults, when listening to others need to be more like dogs. Listen carefully, give encouragement, wag your bum-bum more (physical feedback), check your judgement at the door (don’t bark), give positive feedback, and be mindful when you give constructive feedback. Dogs don’t like being reprimanded and neither do humans.

Be someone else’s dog-like friend.

Thank you Dav Pilkey for entertaining my kids and helping me teach them how to be good little human beings.

Empathy in focus

To deradicalize extremists, former neo-Nazis use a radical method: empathy
by Jane C. Hu in Quartz

This is an interview between Hu and Shannon Martinez, the program manager of Free Radical Project and former white supremacist. They talk about Martinez’s work to help people get out of extremist groups and what the average person can do to combat radicalism. Martinez’s response to the latter,

“This might sound sort of fluffy, but: really develop compassion and empathy, particularly for viewpoints you might find abhorrent.”

Dig in and listen to those that might make you viscerally cringe. Ask them, why they feel the way they do? Remember, empathy will be uncomfortable and unrewarding at times, but the point of empathy is not comfort and/or reward.

Empathy Lab Interviews:

I had the honor to talk with Sue Joyce, VP of Human Resources at Terminus, about Empathy in Onboarding as well as Sally Xia, UX Researcher at NCR about her journalistic approach to practicing empathy. More notes and short interview pieces to follow. Thanks for the conversations!

Join in the empathy conversation! I want to chat with you about how empathy, self awareness, team building, and communication, coffee, silly cats, and life is working out for you. Message me (shelton@empathylab.io ) and we will set up a time to talk.

Empathy from you.

If you find articles that have piqued your interest and are things you want to share with others, please send them to friday@empathylab.io.

Cheers all and happy weekending!

Shelton (sD)


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