Raising Men With Empathy For Others

When I grew up, all the rich kids at school and any I met from others were always the bullies or if too weak to be that had nasty selfish personalities.

The reason why they were so selfish and could not show empathy towards others was because they’d always had their needs met in life. When you always have your needs met and don’t have to suffer for want of anything, it’s difficult to step inside the shoes of another person and feel their pain or see their needs. I’m not saying it can never happen, but a person who grows up with money is less likely to be capable of love for the other.

It is my hope that my sons experience both what it’s like to have their needs met, but also how to do without and feel the pain of not getting what he wants or needs all the time. Even though I have it to give to him, I deprive him of it not out of a mean miserliness, but only for a short while to prove a point. I create that balance I feel necessary for his spiritual and psychological growth.

There are some people I know who are like this. They are wealthy and always have had their needs met not to mention their sons and daughters. They lack a lot of empathy and so this inability to see the needs of others and how their actions impact the lives of those around them is got from childhood. Either this or it’s adopted from hanging around other wealthy dogs with the flea of narcissism and sociopathy.

It is possible to get a disease from being around the people with it, to suddenly go from a poor and empathetic person to a hard unfeeling individual. My grandfather told the story of how during world war II the conscripts wouldn’t fight. They called themselves “conscientious objectors”. My Grandpa said to one in the trench, “You see that German over there in the opposite trench? Well, he’s not a conscientious objector, and he is not going to take you for a prisoner. He will kill you on sight in the heat of the battle with all of us. Unless you shoot him, he is going to shoot you.”

After talking with him for some time, the man took his first shot and killed a German. He vomited everywhere, but by the time he took his third he was no longer vomiting or crying his eyes out. After some time had passed he began to really enjoy killing, “and so”, said my grandpa, “He became a professional unfeeling killer like the rest of us”.

I watched the same in sales, some men couldn’t tell lies to get a sale. They were unable to not care about the poor people they obviously convinced a product was good for them when it wasn’t. They didn’t know how not to give an absolute monkeys about them, their kids or their financial situation to profit from them. They were human beings. But the sales managers trained that out of them and after a while they liked swindling people out of money, and would go back to tell their stories of how they managed to get a sale out of somebody even their own mother.

That’s how they got rich, that’s how they became a success, and all the other psychopaths loved them for it and praised them for a job well done. As for those who couldn’t do it, they lasted 2 weeks and got fired. I left too, it wasn’t for me.

This is the kind of climate I’m trying to protect my sons from. It’s the reason why I don’t really want them going to boarding school where all the wealthy kids go. I don’t want them catching the fleas of this world and losing track of who they are. I’m aware that if I send them to boarding school all my good spiritual counsel and Catholic education can be destroyed in as little as a week there due to hanging around with wealthy spoiled brats.

There are two types of scum. There is the poor scum who drag you into petty crime, drugs and addictions of all sorts and then there’s the wealthy scum who turn you into an uncharitable psychopath. How on earth do we manage to help our sons to navigate the sinful minefield that is this world? It’s tough, but we got to give it our best try. I’m only 38 but from homeless to home to job and then none again, having lived in poor neighbourhoods and rich ones I know humanity all too well. I’m too shrewd in worldly affairs for my own good, and it is this knowledge that affords me the ability to know where my sons should go.

There was one boarding school my son wanted to go to which is run by the Jesuits. I said absolutely 100% NO. Too liberal. There was another in France but it was too rigid and right wing. I settled for the middle of the road and who I felt might be balanced which was Glenstal Abbey, but who knows? How do I know? In any case I don’t think I’m going to send them. I’ll school them at home until a time comes when I feel they’re spiritually prepared enough to deal with the shrewd and nasty world.

At home with me I will educate them not so much in systematic theology but practical theology. Nothing beats the wisdom and counsel of the early Church fathers. . . nothing.

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