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Empathy Assignment

Human life is characterized by constant and continuous interactions. This is inevitable. In the course of these interactions, disagreements are likely to emerge and individuals are likely to brush shoulders. The way in which the disagreeing parties handle the issue of concern greatly determines the aftermath or the consequences of their actions or interactions for that matter. Since interactions are inevitable and disagreements equally are unavoidable, what remains to be held in high regard is how a solution is reached at without further grim consequences. Taking a case example of a parent-child conflict, this essay attempts to discuss what goes on in the minds of disagreeing parties and ways in which amicable solutions can be reached at. In this case example, a disagreement arises between a father and a son. Apparently, the son engaged in a brawl in school leading to injury to another student. When the father is called to the school and is told the events and the situation, he fumes at his son. The son, on the other hand, tries to explain that he had to defend himself since his colleague was taunting him but his father would hear none of that. As a form of punishment, the father grounds the son for a full month and is made to fend for his needs including meals and transport for that month.

Using the pillow method, five situations spring up when this case study is considered. From the son's perspective, which is position 1 in the pillow method (I am right you are wrong) the father is acting irrationally. The son would like to believe that the father would have gotten the true picture of the events and would thus understand. Indeed, empathizing with the son, that is, putting oneself in his situation may provide a different perspective in which the son was right to try and put an end to the constant taunts.

The second position in the pillow method, the one in which it is presumed the father is right and the son is wrong provides yet another perspective. In this case, it can be taken that the son's actions were rash and that there were other means and ways of solving the situation better. As a result, the punishment issued by the father is deemed to befit the rash actions of the son.

The third situation in which both parties are wrong gives the third perspective as presented by the pillow method. In this perspective, the son's actions of engaging in a brawl are viewed as intolerable. The son would have better acted by reporting to the school administration and let the issue be handled from there. In the case of the father, punishing the son would be seen to be a bad choice. The father would do better by sitting the son down and having a talk on the issue and determining the step or steps to take next without letting it degenerate to a full-blown disagreement.

On a fourth perspective, the issue can be considered by both parties to be a trivial one. In this situation, the son and father would both take the cause of the fallout to be a minor issue and would both act like the situation never occurred in the first place.

In the fifth position in the pillow method, the validity of all four situations is analyzed. The first one in which the son is right, the second one in which the father is right, the third position in which both parties are wrong and the fourth one in which the situation is considered as a minor disagreement all have an element of truth. Relating to each situation and empathizing with each party result to coming up with a general presumption that all the four positions have an element of truth.

From the case study, assuming the position of the son, empathizing with the father paints a whole new picture to the situation. Understanding the father's worry of what could have resulted from the altercation gives enough insight to understand him. Understanding the father's situation can be difficult especially if he does not understand the circumstances that led to the brawl in the first place. The lesson learnt from this is that a good understanding of a situation is necessary before conclusions and reactions are drafted.