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Author: slowlythere Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 3079  
Subject: Can altruism, benevolence be taught? Date: 12/6/2006 1:35 PM
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I hope my cross-posting and topics aren't annoying.

This thread today on LBYM inspired me:

Combating holiday greed in children
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=24901535

Partly due to the holidays and other issues, I've been thinking a lot about my own concepts and acts of philanthropy (in my case, I mean it mostly in terms of giving energy and work, not money, or assets) which sometimes conflict with other people's concepts and acts (of philanthropy, or other).

At this time, I've been having concerns about my young high school nephew at different levels and I was debating inviting him to come with me and volunteering at a homeless facility I had volunteered with in years past. Moments ago, I was preparing an email to the facility to make arrangements to be reinstated as an active volunteer there, but I am holding off today pending responses to this thread, if any. My primary purpose of introducing my nephew to the concept of volunteering via a homeless facility is to show him concretely the different faces (literally and otherwise) of economic and social need and neglect. My nephew has little or no concept of handling money, his own material or other desires, needs, and experiences. He is also unexpectedly insulated against how others live and believe; his exposure is mostly through movies, tv, fiction, and stereotyping. In short, I believe he lacks sufficient compassion and generosity of spirit for others. Separately, I also think he may learn some degree of social and personal responsibility, hopefully, by seeing the often painful consequences and suffering of others that he's been so innured to.

There's no guarantee that he'll see and understand what I want to teach him with this exposure. I don't think compassion can be taught. I know he has to learn in his own way.

Has anyone else worked with children, young adults, whether their own family or other young people around them? Any ideas of how to make an impact? Do you think introducing a youngster to volunteering is effective?
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