Empathy starts with the ability to see things from another perspective or point of view. Guiding students to see things from different perspectives benefits them in all relationships.
Conflict in itself is not a bad thing–it can lead to a lot of positive change and innovation. Beginning by getting the kids to sort out the pros and cons of conflict helps them see that it is something to be managed rather than avoided.
Apologizing is a good topic for a class discussion early in the school year. It can be a good segue into discussions about empathy, point of view, forgiveness, or learning from mistakes depending on where your students take it.