Hernandez talks about instilling values in his children, regardless of who is elected in November. Bear in mind that the views below are the author’s own, and do not necessarily reflect those of BreachBangClear–our crew can’t even agree on pizza toppings. Mad Duo
Raising Sons After the Apocalypse
My wife is out of town this weekend, my daughter is living out of state with her family, and it’s just me and my three boys at home. This is a rare occasion. So we had a guy’s day out, involving guns, tattoos, and a park.
Of course, there’s a deeper meaning to today’s activities. Over the last few days we’ve heard revelations about one presidential candidate’s confirmed past statements, and another’s alleged past statements. Long before those revelations, I concluded both major candidates utterly lack the necessary qualities to lead this great nation. I refuse to support either candidate; despite exhortations from many trusted friends, I won’t vote for the Plague because it’s better than Ebola.
But whatever my personal thoughts, and barring a mid-air collision between the two candidate’s private jets, we’re going to have one or the other in office next January. Which means part of my sons’ formative years will be spent under whichever so-called “leader” is elected. I’m pained to find myself in this situation.
Patriotism has always been important in my life. My family came here from Mexico for a reason, and stayed for many reasons. My great uncle died on Bataan for America, another great uncle leapt from a C-47 into a black night ripped by gunfire over Normandy for us. I grew up keenly aware of what my family had suffered and sacrificed, and never took for granted my place in this nation. I’ve proudly voted in every presidential election since 1992, and while I’ve strongly disliked presidents and candidates I’ve never viscerally despised them. Until now. And that hurts, because I’m idealistic enough to want my sons to admire their president even if they disagree with his or her policies.
So what to do?
First thing: Remind myself that the coming presidency won’t destroy America. We’re strong enough to survive a bad president. I’ve heard all manner of doomsday prophecies, from both sides, but I don’t think for a second that either candidate will set up concentration camps and commit mass genocide. My sons won’t grow up in chains; in fact, their generation will probably correct this election’s mistakes.
The second thing I did was do guy stuff with my sons. Due to an issue I’ve written about before (my youngest son’s autism) I couldn’t take them shooting. So I did the next best thing: I got them into a simulator at Saddle River Range, my new favorite place to shoot in Conroe, Texas. My 17 and 9 year olds got to mow down zombies. My little autistic boy was gun team leader and directed them onto targets (mainly by running around laughing).
Then I took them to a tattoo parlor, popular with local police, near downtown Houston. I did this in part because when I was a kid, I’d often see my grandfather’s faded, blurry, green tattoo he got during World War II. It showed an old wooden sailing ship over “U.S. Navy”, and by the 1970s was a barely legible smudge. My mother would say, “See how ugly that is? Don’t ever get a tattoo, that’s what it’ll look like someday.” I thought, That is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I have several tattoos now, all military, and hope my kids understand what they represent. If nothing else, they’ll know all tattoo parlors aren’t the opium dens some people make them out to be. And they got some cool stickers.
And I took them to a park to play, and walk, and enjoy nature. Because I want them outdoors, instead of wasting all their time inside staring at a screen.
Nothing I did today was earth shattering. I was just being a dad to impressionable sons. But it was important, because no matter what condition the rest of the country winds up in next year, I need my kids to grow up with values. I need them to treasure their family and nation, even as they see others getting ahead by tearing those things apart. And I want my sons to know the example they see in the White House the next four or eight years doesn’t represent who we really are as a nation, or who they should aspire to be.
Breach-Bang & CLEAR!
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Chris Hernandez Mad Duo Chris, seen here on patrol in Afghanistan, may just be the crustiest member of the eeeee-LITE writin’ team here at Breach-Bang-Clear. He is a veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Army National Guard who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a veteran police officer of two decades who spent a long (and eye-opening) deployment as part of a UN police mission in Kosovo. He is the author of White Flags & Dropped Rifles – the Real Truth About Working With the French Army and The Military Within the Military as well as the modern military fiction novels Line in the Valley, Proof of Our Resolve and Safe From the War. When he isn’t groaning about a change in the weather and snacking on Osteo Bi-Flex he writes on his own blog. You can find his author page here on Tactical 16.