Raising Sons After the Apocalypse

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| October 9, 2016
Categories: Op-Eds

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.

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.

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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.

Raising Sons


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.

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  1. Former Canadian Corporal

    True Manliness is a few things but what I was taught was “Always admit your mistakes and move to correct them if you can” and “Being a man, means seeing problems, not bitching about them and looking for solutions instead”

    You sir… Have done both of those things! I’d tip my hat to you if I wore one.

  2. Wilson

    Well done Sir!

    There are some things you can change and some things you can’t. Focus on the ones you can. Not only will you get better results but in my experience you also will find yourself not worrying about the things you can’t change.

  3. Rob

    Thanks for this. You guys are truly terrific at adding some real perspective. Always great to have an affirmation that I’m doing right by my 3 boys. I took my 5 year old to the state forest for the 2nd time and let him squeeze off a few rounds with my high standard .22 a couple weeks ago, (dad’s hands-on assuring no flagging) and his nerf guns apparently paid off. He tagged a small rubber target at about 15M 2/3 times, I got tears in my eyes I was so proud. This summer he and my almost-3 year old walked a couple thousand feet up the side of Mount Ranier, we’re looking forward to boy scouts and camping soon.

    We’ve cut the cable, no tablets or phones for the kids, and if we’re stuck inside on a NW rainy day and stream any movies, it’s old cowboy movies with a good allegory that promotes individualism and living by a code. You may think your kids are too young, but what were your parents and grandparents watching? John Ford directing John Wayne, and then Clint Eastwood or better. Not all this anti-hero arthouse crap that’s enjoyable but ultimately vapid.

    It’s easy to cut out the poison and get them thinking about what really matters. Relying on yourself. Developing life skills like fixing cars and building anything you need instead of buying it. Providing for your family and protecting them. And the knowledge is all free online.

  4. Reltney McFee

    Mr. Hernandez, I again applaud you. Let your sons know, by the manner in which their father speaks and acts, what manliness is about. I tried (and, it seems, succeeded) to teach my sons honorable behavior, attention to duty, loyalty, and to carry themselves as gentlemen. You, upon occasion, take positions with which I disagree. In every one of those cases, your position is stated thoughtfully and deliberately. In each one of those cases, I have been forced to re examine my position. Thank you.

  5. Mongo

    Well said and you are a true patriot. Thoughtful commentary and appreciated as a dad who raised a son to realize all those things.

  6. Voting third party for the first time

    Vote third party. The leadin canadite isnt perfect but anyone who that says that vote hurts one or the other mainstream canadites is wrong. Its a vote for someone who isn’t the top two nut-cases. Lincoln was a fouth party canadite. And your right our country has survived worse and will survive no manner what.


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