Was The Sunday Movie on TV, Where I Discovered My Empathy?


I recall that when I was a kid, that a great part of the empathy within me was moulded by the movies I would see on tv, usually on a Sunday afternoon.

Do you remember when you were a kid growing up in the 70’s & 80’s
the kind of movies that were played?

Some were ‘epic’ which had more to do with the scale of the production rather than necessarily the story, acting or script. And then there were the ‘disney’ style movies. Animals, animation and family. There were the ‘war’ movies and all the ‘cowboy’ films. I remember copious swash-buckling films as well.

These movies taught me some seriously important social lessons 1) the abundant and terrifying lack of humanity in our species + the cruelty and barbarism that we are capable of, 2) and these movies, these powerful conveyors of emotions, also showed me the ideals of hope and redemption and resilience . . . .

  • The Ten CommandmentsPollyanna
  • Joan of Arc
  • National Velvet
  • The Great Escape
  • Ben Hur
  • A Town Like Alice
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Cleopatra
  • Storm Boy
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai
  • The Ghost & Mrs Muir
  • Lawrence of ArabiaThe Bible
  • Lassie
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Planet of the Apes
  • Heidi
  • Gone With The Wind
  • Harvey
  • The Sentimental Bloke
  • All Quiet on the Western Front
  • The Bible
  • My Brilliant Career
  • Pollyanna
  • To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Mrs Miniver

I will never, ever, ever, ever, EVER forget a scene from one of the above movies where Christians were being fed to lions in a colosseum-like structure, purely for the entertainment of the local populace. There were numerous close-ups and one I cannot erase from my mind. A grandfather holding his small granddaughter in his arms telling her not to be frightened as they were going to heaven now. Reassuring her not to be caught up in the insanity and inhumanity of the moment, but to forgive their captures and hold hope for something more wonderful in their future.

I am well aware of the futility of this sentiment, but the greater love that is obvious from Grandfather to Granddaughter and his choice to show compassion towards his Granddaughter instead of fear or hate towards his situation, is what has stayed with me all this time.

My heart shattered in this scene, and I was all of fourteen. I cried and cried for hours and demanded to know from my mother how this barbarism could have occurred and how the crowd could be entertained by this insanity?

She explained it was persecution of (our) religion and history.
I vowed never to be a party to such cruelty and to never allow others to easily participate in it either.

And I wonder now, if this last generation of kids has somehow missed out on something by not being exposed to these movies. A REALLY important element of life. As these movies don’t exist on the tv anymore. Streaming tv online, including binging on an entire tv series in one sitting, and online porn. Cheap dvd’s and sharing movies via ‘the cloud’.

Bring bored on a Sunday afternoon or being rained in at the end of the weekend, meant sitting in front of the idiot box and just flopping out. And although it is NOT a loss to encourage this lack of movement or activity, my concern is that young people aren’t being given the sensory (sight, sound and emotion) stimulus of being lost in a story SO much bigger than their own existence.

They don’t have to select the movie, download it, insert it or even move during it. Just sit and watch. And I genuinely wonder . . . . .

. . . have they lost the opportunity to be gently exposed to the element of compassion?




If anyone was curious . . . .

. . . . . I have been unable to blog
for months as my Clinical Depression
became all-encompassing.

I had to stop the ‘noise’.








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