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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 4:36 PM
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It's never been hard for me because I've been homeless, jobless, and hungry when I was a young punk. And, DW and I had to ask for and accept food stamps on two different occasions because we couldn't afford to feed our children even when we both had jobs (...in NH ,w/lousy economy and pay scale in the early 90's...).

You raise a good point, but I'm hopeful it's not a requirement to have been in need to understand need. I've known rich folks who have some very real heart. I also have known some poor folks who would easily mug a disabled grandmother for her food stamps.

By example. No preaching needed, just show them how. If they ask why, then you can say whatever you feel is necessary to explain why you do what you do.

Generally I'd say the same, but this kid is 18 and the only exposure or lessons of philanthropy is from me. His family have been more constant influences. They completely lack a philanthropic streak, unless it's about putting on a face to look good socially or professionally. He's learned hypocrisy, not empathy.

The thing is he's very unsympathetic. He may like the poor kids he sees, but (like his family) he thinks it's because the parents (often single mothers, not always) are scum and don't deserve to be helped. Instead, he (they) just categorically despises and dismisses all of them.

He doesn't understand how "rich" he is himself, only greedy and wonders why he can't get whatever (his needs, desires, etc.) on his terms. Just as a reminder, I wrote this thread in response to the other thread elsewhere, titled "Combating holiday greed in children," and wanting to get him to start thinking more benevolently about others.
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