BY VICTOR OCHIENG’
On May 26, 2022, Dr. Murage Muthui, the level-headed Chief Principal of Njoro School, cordially invited me to address Form One students and their parents during the auspicious Induction and Orientation Day. Before I edged to the podium to deliver the pep talk, some teachers in the school were given chances to share what transpires in their departments.
The teacher-counsellor in charge of Guidance and Counselling in the school, apprised Form One parents pertaining useful programmes in the school that cater for the psycho-social side of learners. The preceptor explained passionately how the school is committed to mentoring boys to become future men of manners. On top of that, she shared something else that basically inspired me to pen this piece for the nation to devour and savour. It revolves around things the school does to impart values of empathy and altruism in learners.
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For your information, in Njoro School, there is what they call Benevolence Day. The Chaplaincy and Guidance and Counselling Departments confers with the administration to settle on one Sunday per term, where all the members of that fraternity are mobilised to show kindness and compassion towards needy students in the school. On that glad day – all and sundry – express their love and largesse towards the less-privileged either in cash or kind. While we were there, as friends of good-will, we were also looped into this benevolent programme. Akin to what happens in churches, ushers went round so that those who were touched by the plight of poor students gave generously without demur. In the sacred scriptures, Jesus of Nazareth said: there will always be poor people in our midst. Elsewhere, when he saw multitudes in His preaching expeditions, He was moved by compassion for people.
Also Read: Help Form Ones To Begin, Learn And Win
In addition, in schools, alumni being brought on board to help learners who hail from humble backgrounds, cannot be locked out of this discourse. Not only at Njoro School, but also in plenty of places: We have witnessed alumni pulling resources together to act as beacons of light and hope to students who are experiencing cash crunch. Philanthropic old students have defrayed fees of students with chilling challenges.
In the whole scheme of things, when needy students are propped up by people whose breads are well-battered, this plants in their mortal minds the pleasant thoughts of giving back in future when they become professionals with means to survive and thrive.
Personally, I loved what I saw in Njoro School. I felt that apart from taking care of needy students in the school, the generous gesture also taught the entire student body how to be empathetic and altruistic in nature. For by and large, these two values, are part and parcel of Emotional Intelligence: the provenance of this soft skill is attributed to the putative American author called Dr. Daniel Goleman.
In a good book titled Emotional Intelligence, he came up with five important areas worth mentioning on this special space: Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social intelligence. Again, in a book titled Social Intelligence, whose oeuvre makes it look like a sequel of the aforementioned one, he talked of Social Awareness and Social Facility. The former, focuses on four areas: Primal empathy, attunement, empathic accuracy and social cognition. While the latter, puts premium on synchrony, self-presentation, influence and concern.
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Over and above, empathy and altruism are very important when it comes to human engineering. These are values we must all strive to impart in children when they are still young and virgin so that they will know how to live with others in the society in the life after school. Charles Darwin, the proponent of Evolution Theory, proposed that empathy – the prelude to compassionate action, has been a wonderful aid to the survival in nature’s toolkit. He posited that empathy lubricates sociability, which is of essence because human beings are social animals par excellence. Somehow, the sociability of mere mortals, has been the primary survival strategy. Empathy can become strong to an extent that we can choose to focus on someone, and in turn, form an emotional loop.
The writer rolls out talks and training programmes in schools. [email protected]
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