Dads Matter – Photo of Son Kissing Father’s Casket Goes Viral

I’m a sucker for photos like these. Dads mean so much to their children. It’s a bond that popular culture at best takes for granted and at worst revels in its erosion.

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Quoting from WISN:

Trooper’s son bids final goodbye to his father with one kiss

In the photo, Brian Falb Jr., 12, says his final goodbye by kissing the casket of his father — New York State Trooper Brian Falb Sr.

Falb Sr., 47, died after a year-long battle with stage-four brain cancer.

He was assigned to the World Trade Center site after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City.

Falb Sr. died March 13. He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Mary, and the couple’s four children.

As both a son and a father, photos like this move me. Prayers for the repose of the soul of Brian Falb Sr. ☩

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The Rise of ‘Non-Monogamy’ as an Accepted Option

Anyone who interacts with popular culture surely is aware of the constant efforts to ‘destigmatize’ behaviors that have been traditionally viewed as taboo. One of the behaviors becoming popular, especially among Millennials, has been open relationships–being openly and proudly sexually active with more than one person. In fact I personally know people who defend this lifestyle. To help understand this, one must realize the current generation is largely made up of children who suffered from divorced families which leaves them automatically skeptical of marriage (therefore, monogamy). Many in the generation suffer from crippling fear of commitment–from a mortgage all the way down to what to do on a Friday night. To go along with these first two points, we live in an age of dating hook-up apps which very efficiently puts others wishing for a sexual experience in immediate contact while at the same time the entertainment industry permeates society with messages of faithful marriage and children being mundane, joyless, tiresome, and old fashioned.

When the seed of these issues is sown in a culture of relativism, it thrives. We all are aware of the ongoing destruction of the family but this wasn’t catalyzed because of Millennials embracing unfettered hedonism–they too are ultimately a casualty–it started with breaking itself against the pillars of Matrimony (since, despite our attempts, cannot be broken themselves). For a marriage to be valid there must exist three requisites, the three “F’s” to help remember: Fruitful, Forever, and Faithful. Even secular law used to reflect this truth. The first pillar to go was being open to life with the popular acceptance of artificial birth control, the next was the widespread acceptance of divorce. Because of this devastation, many Millennials have no clue how a true marriage is even supposed to be ordered. So why should these children of chaotic families have any reason, let alone knowledge, to preserve the final pillar of marriage? Thus we are on our way to finally “destigmatize” non-monogamous relationships. “How liberated our society is” the uber-progressives cry! Sure, about as liberated as a football game that ignores all rules and boundaries–how chaotic and dreadful it would be to participate and how unfortunate to watch.

“Marriage is a fact, an actual human relation like that of motherhood, which has certain habits and loyalties.”
-GK Chesterton

The reason for this post is because I stumbled across a CNN article called Why I choose non-monogamy. I’ll quote some from the article with my emphases and comments along-

“Like most of my generation, I grew up spoon fed monogamist fairy tales that pushed “happily ever after” endings as though achieving one was preordained.

It was like, once you found “the one” and stepped on to the relationship escalator, all the answers became clear — so long as you kept your eyes on the prize and didn’t stray (wait, what was the prize again?). You could spend your whole life living out this fantasy, blissfully ignorant that any other way might be possible, let alone desirable.

But as a child of divorce and an aspiring designer-entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, I was suspicious of marriage. Out here, we’re data-positive and solution-oriented and if your product (i.e. marriage) is failing for 50% of your customers, then you need to fix it or offer something better.”

Unfortunately, his premise of marriage is all wrong from the beginning. Parents are nearly entirely to blame for this as they hold the primary duty to counter the confusing, incomplete, or wrong messages from other areas of society (Familiaris Consortio 36). Today’s generation have been deceived into thinking that marriage is supposed to be a euphoric “fairy tale” that exists for what they can suck out of it with nothing left to absorb once the initial spark settles down.

“Personally, I’m in a monogamish relationship. We’re committed to each other, but have a porous boundary around our relationship, meaning we’ve agreed that it’s OK for either of us to express romantic feelings toward other people or to be physically intimate with other people, so long as we’re honest and transparent about our intentions with one another.

These things don’t diminish the integrity of our relationship. Rather, they deepen our understanding of each other’s wants and desires, and give us the space to grow independently, without growing apart.”

What comical self-deception. Does anyone really think that a sexually open relationship will end in any way other than despair? The instability inherent of unfettered adultery cannot be overcome no matter how eloquent and mature the people involved think they are explaining it. They are fooling no one. The thought of a cute 90-year old couple sitting together discussing how they made it this far because of their choice to have sex with anyone they wanted simply doesn’t compute in the logical brain because it goes so violently against the natural law written onto the soul of mankind. Also ridiculous is the now-pervasive idea that fulfilling one’s desires are 1) the ends to a healthy relationship, and 2) healthy at all. Everyone has desires. Just because something is desirable doesn’t mean it should be done. Extremely destructive outcomes happen when people think it’s acceptable to fulfill disordered desires. Even abstaining from ordered desires is healthy as it builds strength and reorients one to what is truly important. It is a scandal how many have been led to believe that the calls of “being true to yourself”, “do what makes you happy”, or “self-love” is as the crux of mental and spiritual health.

“We’re now living in a period of great (though unequally distributed) abundance where our basic needs are sufficiently met, and reproduction is a choice. As a result, the reasons to be with a single mate for life are less urgent.”

Making the point that suppressed reproduction has led to more disorder in relationships.

“As such, [hook-up apps] precipitates the rising ambivalence toward commitment, as most millennials put off marriage indefinitely. In place of monogamous pairings, hookup culture flourishes and “open relationships” are commonplace. These are merely rational economic responses to excess inventory and changing expectations of romance. Viewed in this context, conventional monogamy is getting long in the tooth.

But fear not: just because a viable alternative to “happily ever after” is in ascendancy doesn’t mean monogamy is irrelevant. To the contrary, it just means that there’s now more than one option for building meaningful and satisfying relationships.”

Again, the point of marriage is not personal satisfaction, it is participating in something greater than you and growing as a family.

“We have no particular reason to suppose that a lily was intended to be beautiful; it was intended for the far nobler purpose of producing other lilies.” -GK Chesterton

50 years from now, lets study two different groups of people: the people who remained faithful to the God-ordered purpose of Matrimony and those whose only purpose in relationships was to fulfill base desires. Which will be far more emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy than the other–but, which ones? I’ll bet even the “non-monogamous” among us know the answer to this. ☩


More [unfortunate] reading, from ABC News: Two Moms, One Dad, Two Babies Make One Big Happy Polyamorous Family

Trump is Becoming the Pro-Family Candidate

Disclaimer: Yes, we are all aware of Trump’s opinions before running for President. Don’t get your undies in a bundle over the title. In this post we are going to give him the benefit of the doubt and discuss his proposals for the future.

Update 9/16: Trump has called for permanently banning taxpayer funding of abortions by seeking to make permanent the Hyde Amendment at the same time that his rival, along with her ‘Catholic’ running mate, are calling for a reversal of the amendment. 

Donald Trump has made waves this week by unveiling two pro-family plans:

1) His maternity leave plan, guaranteeing six weeks of paid leave to mothers whose jobs don’t offer it.

And now,

2) His child care policy, which offers a tax deduction to families regardless of if one or two parents work and regardless of if the child is in day care or not.

Trump is clearly positioning himself as not only the ‘pro-woman’ candidate that Hillary Clinton is assumed to be, but also as the pro-family candidate. Hillary has touted her child care policy for months, telling women that she will fight for them and her policies reflect that, but with Trump’s recent (and specific) announcements, her sails are losing the wind she thought she could rely on.

The real estate mogul reacted quickly to Hillary’s child care policy announcement back when she unveiled it, saying that he too would offer a plan for mothers and families–there were no details at the time. It was assumed his plan would be similar to Hillary’s in that it offered a tax deduction for parents who both have to work and send their child to a child-care service. This was problematic for many family-oriented voters because while its goal is to help families financially, it also favors families putting their children in day care over families whose mother stays at home to care for children (quite an economic sacrifice for most families)–why should these parents (“you da real heros”) be ignored? Indeed day care helps many parents who are working hard to provide for their family, however day care can prove detrimental for children who spend a lot of time in it. When discussing Hillary’s childcare policy, W. Bradford Wilcox points out, “when young children, especially infants, spend lots of time in child care, it poses behavioral and social risks, even when they are being cared for in high-quality centers.” This is not ideal to the pro-family voter. Trading tax deductions for less-than-ideal child raising is the last thing our country, littered with broken marriages and shattered families, needs. No doubt, it is wonderful to relieve the economic burden on parents who rely on day care, but it’s even better to give all parents more resources to make decisions about what is truly best for the family they lead. Trump’s plan seems to do this.

Back when it was assumed Trump’s plan would be the same as HRC’s, the Catholic New York Times columnist Ross Douthat (I’ve been mentioning him a lot lately, haven’t I?) wrote a parody debate between the two candidates on the topic Make Family Policy Great AgainIn the fictional dialog Hillary paints the picture that she doesn’t really care about families and Trump shows that he really has no detailed policy to follow through with. Trump changed Mr. Douthat’s mind with his recent policy announcement:

Trump and making your family great again

Uh oh, I hear undies getting in a bundle again. Many Republicans have trouble embracing the family policies the eccentric businessman and reality TV star has laid out–understandable. I agree that the free market should be the default arbitrator of work-related benefits and pay. However, the market is not perfect because the market is not God, as many ‘religious’ Republicans seem to believe.

There is a growing segment of conservative voters whose support [of Christian living and policy] is simply lip service inasmuch as Christianity fits into the parameters of their coveted political orthodoxy. So to say, these people appreciate the parts of Christianity that line up with their already-set political ideology rather than the other way around.
The Saints’ Pub

“Did you just quote yourself?” Yes, I did. That’s how I roll. But it is also why I appreciate when Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence describes himself as a “Christian and Conservative, in that order”. As Catholics, it is our duty to consider the health of the family before all else. While it is too early for me to form a solid opinion on Trump’s maternity leave plan (again, by default we should assume the market can take care of this. It is possible this would incentivize companies to remove the paid-leave benefit knowing the government will offer the six weeks for free. At the same time, most companies offer more than six weeks already, meaning that they would still use the added maternity time as a benefit to remain attractive to good workers while the proposed government policy would simply be a safety net for women who have no other option. This, I think, is the flaw in the thinking of many liberals attacking the plan. They claim “six weeks is not nearly enough!” but if more were offered it would result in more companies dropping their policy, creating a bigger burden on the State.), I can stand in support of his child care plan. Quoting from the National Review:

“Mr. Trump’s plan will ensure stay-at-home parents will receive the same tax deduction as working parents, offering compensation for the job they’re already doing, and allowing them to choose the child care scenario that’s in their best interest.”

…every family, whether or not in day care, gets a tax deduction worth the average cost of child care in its state. (Well, every married couple that makes less than $500,000 a year, that is; and only the first four children in a family would get the deduction.) If that’s right, Trump’s plan does not favor two-earner couples who use day care over one-earner couples that keep the children at home, as some child-care proposals–including those of Hillary Clinton–do. In effect, he concludes, Trump has increased the dependent exemption from $4,000 per child to roughly $16,000 per child.

[…]

…if Trump’s proposal is what Ellis takes it to be, then it would be a significant improvement in the tax structure, which currently places too high a share of the tax burden on parents and especially on parents of large families.

Families (not individuals) need fewer obstacles to having children and this child care policy goes in the right direction. Is it a sort of entitlement? I suppose. However it’s goal is to strengthen families rather than work against the family unit, the most fundamental cell of society. A strong family is, after all, in the best interest not only of communities large and small, but also of the State as a stable family helps ensure strong, happy, healthy, and self-sufficient citizens.

Now a State chiefly prospers and thrives through moral rule, well-regulated family life, respect for religion and justice, the moderation and fair imposing of public taxes, the progress of the arts and of trade, the abundant yield of the land-through everything, in fact, which makes the citizens better and happier. 
-Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum 32

This plan also is only a benefit to families who have at least one person employed meaning it is money going to someone who is already contributing to the tax base–this is almost unheard of when it comes to entitlements today.

Why believe Trump is serious about this

I know, it’s hard. Trump has changed his position many times on important issues in the past and sometimes seems like he’s willing to say anything to get applause. I would simply say that the effort he has put behind these plans, along with the fact that these are co-attributed to his daughter, Ivanka (who seems genuinely family oriented), he doesn’t want to be mocked as a “loooser” by not succeeding with ideas becoming reality. Also, I think the fact that Gov. Mike Pence is his running mate–a man who is unarguably pro-family–offers Trump’s courting of pro-family voters and Christians some credibility.

Trump seems to really care about this, something that cannot be said for Hillary. There is an urgency and understanding that sometimes comes through when Trump discusses certain topics which Hillary cannot come close to imitating. Hillary does not care about family. She does not care about her own family (it seems), let alone the family trying to make a quality life for themselves in middle America. I think one can come to a reasonable conclusion that Mr. Trump is more likely to fight for these reforms (and others) more than Mrs. Bill Clinton would. ☩

Teacher’s Note Urging Family Time Over Homework Goes Viral

Making waves on the internet today is a letter a second grade teacher sent home with her new students. She states that she will not be assigning her students any homework for the year asking, rather, the parents do things that are “proven to correlate with student success”. She suggests parents make sure to eat dinner as a family, read with their children, play with them outside and make sure to set a reasonable bed time.

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I think one of the reasons this letter is resonating are a few things:

  1. It’s refreshing when an educator recognizes the importance of parental judgement.
  2. This goes against the common narrative that mainstream educators are quick to ignore anything with the whiff of traditional family activity.
  3. This expressly fights back against the modern plague of parents who don’t care to do those ‘extra things’ in family life that benefit children so much–in mind, body, and soul.

Since parents have given children their life, they are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators. This role in education is so important that only with difficulty can it be supplied where it is lacking. Parents are the ones who must create a family atmosphere animated by love and respect for God and man, in which the well-rounded personal and social education of children is fostered. Hence the family is the first school of the social virtues that every society needs.
-GRAVISSIMUM EDUCATIONIS (10-11), Bl. Pope Paul VI