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Culture of Empathy Builder:  Sura Hart


Sura Hart & Edwin Rutsch: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy
Sura Hart is an internationally recognized trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) and is the contact person for projects integrating NVC into U.S. schools. She designs and facilitates trainings and curricula for students, parents, teachers, and school administrators around the globe, and is a co-founder of the annual five-day NVC Institute for Educators: Teach for Life!  She is co-designer of The No Fault Zone Gameģ and co-director of The No-Fault Zone.
Sub Conference: Education and NVC


Sura Hart on How to Deepen the Empathy 

  • Introduction:  Sura Hart is an internationally recognized trainer with the Center for Nonviolent CommunicationSM (CNVC) and is the contact person for projects integrating NVC into U.S. schools.

  • holds Teach for Life retreats

    • educators - creating compassionate and lively schools and communities

  • First awareness of empathy?

    • When daughters were born

    • beheld new life

    • was in awe and wonder sensing into their world

    • seeing through their eyes

    • follow their leads and interest

  • that's different from the way most of us were raised

  • saw parenting is most often about getting kids to do things our way

  • exploring a different way a being - sensing into their world

  • got excited about educations

  • schooling is set up cultivate obedience instead of awareness of ourselves and interests

  • children are seldom asked what they want

  • various teaching experiences

  • why when children come into life they are energetic but lose it in school

  • like to support teachers and parents and their empathic connection

  • mutual cooperation and respect - and empathy brings that about

  • developing school structures that can support this

  • change the adults behavior to support empathy, instead of judgments, etc.

  • Ways to deepen the empathy?

    • using NVC and the understanding of motivations

    • the needs that they have

    • parents and teachers want to support and nurture the children, understanding needs is a helpful tool

    • see the beautiful needs

  • Became curious about people needs, instead of judgment or avoidance



Sura Hart on How we can Build a Culture of Empathy?


  • How can we Build a Culture of Empathy?

    • Modeling it is the key to education

    • Parents need support, - parenting leave, etc

    • Give teachers education on empathy

    • Have TV moderators using empathy to bring people together

      • real dialogue with dialogue instead of fights

    • More movies and cartoons that model empathic connection

      • showing another way is possible

    • I have more ideas, I'm thinking about it all the time

    • I appreciate what your doing.

    • I take heart that there are many people bringing forward empathy

      • Obama for example

    • More politicians talking about empathy.

    • local level with skilled moderators, who want to get people heard

  • Seems like your about building a culture of empathy?

    • The schools are where we teach culture

    • We're teaching, adversarial, competition, working for intrinsic rewards

    • Systematical shutting down empathy and supporting violence, greed and deception

    • Paul Hawkins - a change is happening

      • we're forging a new pathways

    • we're working separately and can get discouraged and lose hope

    • I enjoy bringing people together, the pioneers

    • seeking new ground with empathy and compassion, aliveness

    • many of us are doing it.

    • A whole movement is building empathy, understanding, compassion, peace

    • the numbers are growing

    • getting together with others is good to do,


Sura Hart - Teachers and Parents Need Empathy to give Empathy


  • Teachers and parents need empathy

  • need to feed themselves so they can give more empathy

  • it's a shift in focus

  • self responsibility - we have needs too




Working notes.





What is most alive for me is
Demonstrating the power of empathy to connect across differences.

Rather than talking so much ABOUT empathy,
I'd like to demonstrate how we can be peace makers and change makers by connecting with those who we label as .....
(stupid, reactionary, bully... whatever).

    • 1- This directly relates to how we can effectively address bullying behavior and those we label "bullies" in schools.

    • 2- As well as how we can understand where others are coming with, opening up possibility to dialogue and share our views with them.


    Phyllis Schlafley  discussion


    • what would keep you from seeing the the humanity of all involved?

    • Empathizing with Sura and Edwin


  • Questions for you:

    1. Do you like this approach to our dialog? Yes,, I like the refinement of the topic. Looking for more creative and empathic approaches to explore it. Itís been what Iíve wanted to do, so very glad for your involvement and creativity.

    2. Have you had interviews with this kind of roleplay?
    I havenít done role play like this but I would like to. Iíve had ideas around it.

    I did initiate and record these mediations with John and Ike.. It was conservatives and progressives talking about the role of empathy in the supreme court.

    If you do like this idea, I have some things I'd like to do before we do the interview:

    1- Read/hear Phyllis Schlafley's comments. I don't see a link to them on your site
    The links are here.
    Once we do a response to Phyllis Schlafley, Iíd like to invite her to do an interview with me. Then maybe we could do a panel discussion.

    I did a response to criticism of empathy in an article by Victoria Pynchon, ďGreat Negotiators Think With Heads, Not Hearts - Empathy Can Subvert Human Well-BeingĒ on Forbes
    then we actually engaged her in a dialog and did a panel discussion together.

    2- See the movie "Bully" so I'm more informed of what people are seeing and talking about
    I see this as a separate one hour dialog. Combine your word doc notes with the movie would be topical.

    3- See if you (or someone else?) would like to do the roleplay with me.
    If you, I'd like to skype beforehand to discuss and practice a few roleplays.... warm up.
    Yes, I would do this.

    These considerations have me wanting to postpone our interview, once again (sorry),
    to give me and us time to prepare in these ways. What say you??
    I think weíre refining and deepening the topic, which Iím excited about.