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  • Divya Mohan

Story of a 3-year-old girl who empathized

Updated: May 8, 2019

Have you ever wondered if little children could empathize with others? Could children put themselves on others' shoes and understand others' emotions? Read this story to see how kids can empathize.

I and my 3-year-old daughter, Ridhi, were playing in the backyard when a dragonfly flew into our house. It fluttered around the hall and sat on the curtain for a while until I opened the window and allowed the dragonfly to fly out. However, what remained in my mind were the emotions that my 3-year-old went through in that little time.

Ridhi was initially terrified to see a big insect buzzing around in random directions and crashing into various objects. She was clinging to me until the dragonfly stopped fluttering and sat on the curtain. As Ridhi settled down, I told her that the insect was a dragonfly and that the dragonfly would be as scared as she was, because it was trapped in our house. That made her accept the situation and feel brave. She sat on the sofa near the curtain and observed the dragonfly closely.

"Why did the dragonfly come to our house?" she asked.

"It might have lost its way", I replied.

"Could we help the dragonfly find her way back home?" Ridhi asked.

I told her that we can definitely help the dragonfly. That's when I opened the window to guide the dragonfly out.

At dusk, when her dad was back home, Ridhi narrated the story to him. I was pleasantly surprised, as she not only expressed how she felt but also expressed how the dragonfly could have felt. "The dragonfly was lost and scared", she explained.

An important observation from this incident was that children are capable of empathizing. With a little guidance, they are able to put themselves in others' shoes and imagine how others could be feeling. With this understanding, they tend to help or comfort the other person.

Empathy is a skill that is so important in our lives to socialize and grow into leadership roles. For a child, it helps develop caring, sharing and helping skills.

The book "Mili and the Dragonfly" is inspired by Ridhi's encounter with the dragonfly. I decided to create this book in order to teach the skill of Empathy to Ridhi and several other children like Ridhi.

There is a lot to learn in this colourful picture book. It depicts and illustrates the various emotions of the child: Fear, Anger/Frustration, Emotional Empathy, and Happiness. The book also illustrates the imaginations of children and is filled with rhyming words and phrases to describe the situation.


Some interesting facts:

  • Ridhi played a major part in making this book. She chose the title. She gave inputs for illustrations. She "kid tested" my book and helped me enhance it to make it interesting for kids. She has also helped me make a promotional video.

  • I choose Empathy as the first topic to publish, among several other value based stories, because it was the most popular choice for parents and educators, whom I interviewed - to find out what they wanted to teach their children.

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