Compassion and Empathy:  

rm_Ellenback 60F
903 posts
6/17/2006 6:48 am

Last Read:
7/12/2006 4:01 am

Compassion and Empathy:

My teenagers, about 5 years ago or so, used to play a PC game - SIMS - around the clock, mind you!

I didn't mind, it seemed relatively harmless, and I even got into it myself at one point. We had a competition going among ourselves to see who could build the biggest house, amass the largest fortune, and generally 'TRUMP' each other...LOL

One day, I knew that my youngest son, 17 at the time, was playing the game on the family room pc, and didn't pay much attention to it. However, I could hear the faint but still audible sounds of distress emanating from the screen, and I became curious as to what was going wrong with his game...

I watched for a few minutes, and that's when I realized: he had somehow managed to build his fortune up considerably, effectively winning the game over his sister and I.

Finally, as I wondered how he'd gotten to that point, I'd asked him for an explanation. When he told me, I was horrified! More to the point, and even scarier, he was proud!

Sure, sure, I realize it's just a game, but listen:

His male character had met a female character, and he'd kept pursuing her, eventually causing her to fall in love with him, and then he'd married her, blending the two fortunes together. (What, NO PRE-NUP? )

Right after the wedding, instead of doing what his sister and I had done with our characters: starting a family, struggling to survive and still work at 'start-up' jobs without neglecting anything...he'd kissed his new bride goodbye, and stuck her in the backyard of the house...there to wither, suffer, and eventually die of starvation!

Then the money became all of his male character's...

The sounds I'd heard were her cries of distress...

Damn right, I smacked the back of his head, and hard, too!

He complained vociferously, telling me that I was over-reacting, it was just a game, there were no real people to this, no one got hurt, and he'd won.

I accepted his point, but used the opportunity to impart some of my own learnings to him.

"Honey," I told him, "you may view this as just an unreal game, but it does reveal some things about you that I've been wondering about. I've noticed a harder edge to you lately, and you've always been a soft kind of guy, but now you seem to have a real coldness to if you could care less about people, including us!"

He told me that ever since he'd been beaten up by the local cops at the age of 14 (they thought he was at least 16!) for something he didn't even do, that he'd had no trust in authority, and people in general, and that he doubted he'd ever have a regular girlfriend or essentially, "toe the line."

We talked for hours about this, and finally I was able to get through to him (I hoped!) that basic lack of empathy for others is one of the failings of this modern technological world, and is exacerbated by the video games we play, where you can kill your allies, never mind the demons, without a backward glance or even repercussions.

I reminded him that humans have done absolutely horrible things to each other, in the name of money, property, and even 'love', if you want to call it that, and provided specific instances to him to back up my stance.

While I was worried about him for a long time, I think that by confronting this situation right away I may have managed to steer him back down the appropriate path in 22, he's now holding down a steady job, has a girlfriend living with him, and is essentially a great kid! He even went back into the game and reset himself from square one, doing it the right way from then on. (yeah, I WON!)

And, the kicker, provided as a courtesy to you by 'Heinz-Sight' 20/20?

It is HE who is now controlled by his girlfriend...she keeps him on a tight leash! Just like mom used to do!

Perhaps, if he hadn't learned it from the game, life would have handed him the lesson in real-time...we NEED to keep an eye on our kids when they are playing these simulated video games, and watch for patterns that may affect them in their future actions!

Have you ever had a 'make it or break it' point with your kids?

Have you ever been able to sway someone to your point of view and effectively changed their life in the process?

Have you ever felt as though your feelings and words have made an impact when delivered in a rational, and timely, manner?

Or, do you just feel as though no one is listening?



SleekIcilyVarix 42M

6/17/2006 7:33 am

Great story Elle...glad it has a happy ending

I think if you're trying to get a point across, the ONLY time words can make an impact is if they are delivered in a rational and timely manner.

horny4770 61M
8158 posts
6/17/2006 8:06 am

Thanks for sharing that story, I'm glad you won!

My oldest was the lookin' in a friggin' mirror! I used lessons from my own past to help steer him down the right road. Like yours he turned out pretty darn good! A wife, child and a house...all on his own....mostly lol

I would like to believe I have effected several lives...all in a timely and rational way. Blown tops just blow off steam and hot air. And then there have been times when I feel like I have just talked to myself!


rm_Ellenback 60F
966 posts
6/18/2006 7:28 am

    Quoting SleekIcilyVarix:
    Great story Elle...glad it has a happy ending

    I think if you're trying to get a point across, the ONLY time words can make an impact is if they are delivered in a rational and timely manner.
Definitely, Fire, but working on the 'rationale' behind the rational...LOL that's my weakness!

Horny: My oldest was the lookin' in a friggin' mirror! Oh I hear you on this one - my daughter looks exactly like me, although she does also carry the weaker genes of my Ex...LOL



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