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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 3078  
Subject: Re: Can altruism, benevolence be taught? Date: 12/6/2006 4:54 PM
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I have no advice for him. Your support of him is important, but don't let it drag you down. He may have to hit some sort of bottom, then turn around.

I'm sorry I sound so depressed about him: I *am* depressed about him, actually. I think half the battle is that he actually is listening to me, even if he doesn't understand what the "big deal" about what I'm trying to get him to understand. I know I just sound like "blah, blah, blah" to him, which is one reason why I'm trying to find a hands-on way of explaining about different people, different experiences, and different contexts. When he starts to cloud over, I realize I need to do less talking and more showing, but I'm not sure how to do it in a way that's reasonably structured, safe, and suitable.

Though it wasn't indicative, my introduction to the straight-arrow kid nearly turned threatening when he lost his temper at the other kid (who, incidentally, was just shocked and confused, but showed no desire to respond in kind). I literally had to back him up against the wall away from the other kid by sheer will and voice (and that he's nearly six inches taller than me, I consider it a small triumph). I want to, in the future, bring him to established environments in which I have others that understand and can monitor a bit. Even though that's the only time in which he's nearly lost it, it may also be because I have since then been much more cautious of controlling conversational dynamics if necessary.

One of my groups has a steady volunteer who came to us via the courts. I don't have all the details, but too much fun and an accident (vehicle I believe) had him doing community service. He now comes back on his own volition. Not the best way to get a volunteer, but it made a difference to him (although he also has friend(s) who serve and that helps).

I fear that might be his only recourse: his parents are almost hoping (setting up?) he'll get arrested for something and thrown in jail. I know he's really a good kid insight, but severely, badly mislead. He's very angry at the world and everyone and I want him to find a healthier, better way of dealing with his frustrations, regaining control and understanding, etc.

As it is, I'm hoping I can find some outlet that he'll actually enjoy and keep up with that doesn't require a probation officer, heh.

If he doesn't already appreciate your efforts, he will one day - hopefully sooner than later.

You know, he does listen. A few times already, he's come to me and told me, "you know, you were right and I was wrong on [___], even though I thought it was the other way around." He insists repeatedly that he prefers experiences to learn by (he hates reading, vicarious experience, etc.) because he seriously thinks it's the only worth while way of learning. I keep trying to tell him things like, "you don't need to overdose or get arrested to know that drugs can get you into some serious trouble." He minimizes what I'm trying to tell him, but I realize still he's still very young. I think he's testing his limits and capabilities in many ways, but he's leaning towards experiences and people that deliberately approve of his perceptions, not disprove. A classic example is me insisting that he needs to get his high school diploma, and not drop out. He keeps insisting that he knows many twenty somethings that never graduated and are "okay." With later information, most of them are still living with their parents, rarely work, or related.

I think it's just us mature (not "old") folks who appreciate learning without the experience itself.
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