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Our eldest is in college and our youngest is in middle school. Between these two, there are four more and dinner conversations can get pretty interesting. Once we get over talking about who did what in school, the conversation often turns to issues concerning faith, politics and society.

Lately the conversation has been about whom to vote for in the coming elections. We have four girls who, to varying degrees, take after their mother’s genial personality. Like my wife, they are non-confrontational and have not “acquired” the vice of cussing. Thank God because one person in the house is bad enough and I’ve been reprimanded by no less than all of them the few times they hear me say the “s” word, so much so that I’ve become merely a shadow of what I used to be, again thank God for miracles! I am proof that you can teach old dogs, new tricks.

I wanted to mention something about what goes on in our home and how my children are because I can’t believe how much of a dark cloud has taken over the hearts and minds of people these days. I’m talking about the popularity of a presidential wannabe who lives a duplicitous life of claiming to instill discipline in his city while practicing none of it personally. Whenever I hear his supporters cheer him on despite his foul mouth and tough-guy demeanor and how “he” is what the country needs to get us back on track, I cringe and remember my children and what we have spent the better part of 21 years raising them. We have taught them that verbal abuse and cussing is more than just boorish behavior, it is an affront against virtue. It is a sign of a lack of self-control and where there is lack of self-control, there is always the big chance of self-destructive behavior. When there is self-destructive behavior, chances are there will be collateral damage. If one cannot be trusted to practice self-restraint (we call this virtue Prudence), one should not be given bigger responsibilities. Perhaps the mentality of self-entitlement has diminished this truth and makes for a truly bleak cultural future for the country.

This lack of self-control is also the reason why this president-wannabe publicly admits to be a womanizer, that is, treating women as objects to cater to his whims, his libido. This should lead people, especially fathers, to pause for a while and reflect on two things: First, how does one support such swinish behavior and raise boys to be virtuous men who will inherit this country? How can one live this kind of falsehood within their homes and worse, within their faith and not expect that it will have deep repercussions in their families? I am assuming that it is not only the Catholic faith that teaches about the sin of hypocrisy and even within the realm of the secular, do we not despise people who behave that way, calling them all sorts of names like two-faced, two-timers, or judases? Do we not call a person who betrays their wife/husband, their vocation or their country, traitors. Second, how does one raise strong daughters when one supports a candidate who objectifies them? You can’t because raising strong daughters requires a certain consistency in the practice of certain virtues. It is bad enough that our daughters are bombarded daily with over-sexualized images of women or women who throw themselves onto men who have no respect for them. isn’t this exactly what we have seen in the papers, a septuagenarian who flaunts his women? We as fathers should not tolerate this and we should be taking offense from it for the sake of our daughters!

All these are a result of both a spiritual and intellectual sloth. Sloth is not mere laziness but a kind of indifference or a stupor towards doing what is right. Unless people sober up and realize this, our children will have one hell of a ride and I do mean a “HELL of a ride”.