I love this particular scene from my favorite movie “An education”:
Wisdom is definitely not something closely associated with old age. In fact, I’ve seen a good number of men who seem to have more wrinkles on their faces than on their brains.
As I grow older, I come to realize that empathy is the ultimate wisdom. Empathy is not just about getting a thorough gasp of something, it’s about how you can relate to others to understand them and open your heart to them. As humanbeings are born with self-centered thoughts, I don’t think it’s our true nature to try to put ourselves into someone else’s shoes to see things from a new angle and under a new light.
To me, sufferings, pain and courage breed empathy.
Sufferings shed light on things that you simply ignore when you’re content. Pain makes life seem real, so real it hurts. Then it takes so much courage to overcome your own broken heart, so that love prevails. And empathy takes roots from love.
I recently took the part of a new learner of another language, not just a teacher as my usual role. Never like before did I see so clearly the enormous challenges posed to a beginner’s journey to master a foreign language: the fading interest, the self-doubt, the too-tight-a-schedule-to squeeze-anything-in, the comfort zone turning upside down, the unbearable peer-pressure (when your peers are at least a decade away from your generation, darn!).
That helps a lot with my current role as a teacher. Now that I’m in the same shoes with my students, I know how tight I should lace them up!