Leading with Heart
“Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.” —Walt Disney
What does it take to stand up for something or someone? It takes courage, sure, but also "empathy"—the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It's different from "sympathy," in that you aren’t feeling sorry or pity for someone; you are attempting to relate to them by feeling what they are feeling. Without empathy, the most effective leaders from our past and present would not have been able to achieve their most enduring accomplishments. Today at Camp Kinda, you'll learn about the power of empathy, how to communicate with heart, and what it takes to stand up for what's right.
what you’ll need
- A computer, tablet, or mobile phone and access to the internet
- Pens, crayons, markers, or colored pencils
- A plain t-shirt (optional)
Ask About Today
When is a time you have shown "empathy" or stood up for someone else?
Who do you know who is really good at connecting with people and leading with heart?
Skip the Ads
Unfortunately, online videos often start with short advertisements. Remind your campers to click the "Skip" button as soon as they can to move ahead to the video.
Some of the most effective leaders of our past have been the greatest teachers of empathy—that ability to understand how are other people are feeling—for the leaders of our present. Watch as these renowned young leaders from different corners of the world stare their fear in the face, step inside of the world of the issue they are most passionate about, and take a powerful stance for their community and the world.
A 12 Year-Old's Moving Call for Change
At only 12 years of age, Timoci Naulusala’s opening speech captivated world leaders at the United Nations' annual conference on climate change in Bonn, Germany.
Remember: Online videos often start with advertisements. (Annoying, we agree!) Click the "Skip" button as soon as you can to move ahead to the video.
The Power of Silence
Sometimes, the strongest call for change involves no words at all. Watch Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the Parkland School shooting in Parkland, Florida, give a powerful March for Our Lives speech. Make sure you watch it until the end!
Mari Copeny, the Heart of Flint, Michigan
Having empathy and heart means knowing yourself and embracing your passion. There's no better example than Mari Copeny, AKA "Little Miss Flint," who is raising awareness about her Flint, Michigan community and its fight for access to clean water.
Watch Mari at Work
Watch Mari Copeny put her heart into it as she addresses a crowd about her experiences with unclean water.
In the world of activism, empathy and passion for an issue often leads one to action. However, for true change to come about, you must motivate others in your community and beyond! The leaders you listened to earlier all started where you are now. They didn't always have a following. At some point, after taking their own stance, they had to ask themselves, "how do I convince others that this issue is important and that it affects more people than just me?" Well, this is the moment where you begin to think about the story you will share to bring others into your movement.
What Do You Want to Say?
On Monday and Tuesday, you chose an issue you cared about and collected input from your community. Today, you'll take a stand by writing your own motivational speech that rallies others to join the your cause and stand alongside you as you change the world!
Start by writing down the 3-4 most important things you think you want to say. Going back to our example about cleaning up the neighborhood, for instance, you might write down things like:
- 8 out of 10 people in our neighborhood say that litter is a problem!
- Trash on the street looks bad, and also affects our health and safety
- If we all work together, we can keep our neighborhood cleaner
- Let's all pick up at least 1 piece of litter this weekend
Think about what people need to know about the issue you care about—and what you want them to do to change things.
Write a Draft of Your Speech
Once you know what you want to say, start turning those points into a speech. Click the button for some helpful tips on speech-writing.
Remember to think about communicating with heart and empathy. Try to connect with people by explaining why this issue matters so much to you, and why they should care about it, too. What can you say that will help them understand your perspective clearly? How can you inspire them to do something different?
Don't be intimidated! Your speech doesn't have to be long or complicated. Use your own words and speak from the heart. Start by simply writing a few sentences to serve as your opening lines. See how one activist did it in this example.
Pro tip: Having trouble getting started? Try using an opening line like, "I'm here today because...."
Practice Your Speech
Got a draft written down? Great! Now it's time to practice. Reading your speech out loud will help you see where you might want to add more information or change the way you say something. It can also help you get feedback from others, like your siblings or family members, about what might make it even better.
Great speeches are more than words on a page. They're delivered with passion and make people feel connected to you. That takes emotion and heart, too. Think about your tone of voice, how fast or slowly you speak, and even your facial expressions and hand gestures. Watch this video to see how one 10-year old uses all of these tools to deliver a great speech about kindness.
For younger explorers
Design a T-Shirt for Your Cause
One way Mari Copeny brings attention to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan is through clothing that she wears. Check out this website to see Mari's t-shirt with the message "Don't Forget Flint" that people from all over the world can buy to help support her cause.
Today you will design a t-shirt with a message that you believe needs to be heard. You will need some paper, a pencil, markers, and crayons. Start by watching this video on how to draw a t-shirt. Once you have your plain t-shirt drawn on your paper you're ready to design and color your very own t-shirt with your message for change!
(Bonus: Have a blank t-shirt and some permanent markers? After designing your t-shirt on paper, make it real!)
Leading with Empathy
We often think of "leaders" as being strong, brave, or determined. And often, they are all of those things! But many argue that the best leaders are those who lead with feeling and empathy. Learn more in this article from leadership coach Lolly Daskal.
10 Times Kids Stood Up
Kids have a unique way of connecting with people. Here are 10 examples of times when young people led the way in movements for change.
Still having a hard time understanding what empathy looks like in action? Check out these stories and examples.
For younger explorers
Meet Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela was a world-famous human rights activist who became South Africa’s first Black president. Learn about his life and childhood in this read-long.
For younger explorers
Little Miss Flint's Letter to President Obama
Find an older sibling or a grown-up who can help you read along with the letter that Mari Copeny, Little Miss Flint, wrote to President Obama as well as the letter he wrote back to her.
Walk in Someone Else's Shoes
Just like your words, the choices you make can have a direct impact on other people. Practice putting yourself in another person's shoes by playing a game that encourages you to make decisions to create change. Digital Compass will take you on a journey and lead you to apply the skills you've learned this week to stand up for others!
Leaders of a movement require confidence! When delivering a speech with a powerful message, it will take more than just your voice to communicate your message. Have you ever heard of something called "power posing"? Apparently, it is possible to change how you feel about yourself simply by changing the way you stand. This TED-Talk will help you understand the science of power posing.
Now that you have learned about some of the ways to make yourself feel more powerful and confident, grab the speech you wrote earlier today, stand in front of a mirror, and practice your power poses!
"Let's Move" Flash Workout
"Let's Move" is a great example of a campaign slogan—short, simple, and focused on action. It was created by First Lady Michelle Obama in 2011 to encourage kids to be physically active and healthy. To help get the word out (and get kids bouncing!), the First Lady tapped legendary musical artist Beyonce to develop a new song and a "flash workout" to go with it. Ready to give it a try?
more to explore
3 Ways to Boost Your Confidence
Standing up for what you believe in can be scary at first. Did you know that you have the power to grow your own confidence? Check out this animated video to learn the top three ways to do that, right now.
The Science of Empathy
Want to know the secret to increasing your empathy? Check out this clip on the science of empathy.