In the battle of Manila Bay, in 1896, when Admiral Dewey defeated the Spanish fleet, the following incident took place.
Shortly before the battle when the signal was given to clear the deck for action, the coat of a young American sailor fell overboard. At once the lad asked for permission to get the coat out of the water. The request was refused. The sailor, nevertheless, jumped into the water after the coat. He was later arrested, court-martialed, and sentenced to several years in prison.
For the Love of a Mother
When after the battle Admiral Dewey heard of the incident, he had the lad brought to him and asked him why he had disobeyed. The lad was downcast, but he pulled out of his coat pocket a photograph and handed it to the admiral, saying, “My mother.” He carried the picture with him all the time, and when the coat fell into the water, he thought only of one thing… to save the picture of his mother.
The admiral, deeply touched, took the lad by the hand and set him free. He said, “Sons who for the picture of their mother risk their lives are also willing to give their lives for their country; they do not have to be imprisoned like criminals.”
The sailor had a deep respect and love for his mother which made him ignore imprisonment. If he respected the picture of his mother, he certainly loved her all the more.
When I first read this true story, I asked myself what could a mother do to invoke this level of love, respect and devotion. Then I thought about my own mother. I came to fully understand virtue and goodness when I became a Catholic over thirty years ago, but it was my mother who gave me what was necessary in my character to accept and embrace the eternal immutable truths of Catholicism. All the good I had in me prior to my conversion came from my mother. While my father gave me the tools necessary to become a man, it was my mother who prepared me to learn to become a man.
My Own Mother/A Beautiful Woman
At this writing, Mom is eighty years old, but I think she’s still a pretty woman. Truth be known, I think she looks younger than I do! In my mind, I still see my twenty-five year old mother (who I thought at the time was ancient) out in the back yard entertaining us kids by doing cartwheels and playing baseball with us. Mom has gone through countless trials and tribulations throughout her life—many brought on by this often ungrateful son—but she endured every hardship with the grace and dignity of a person with a solid and admirable character.
Mom had her own signature “mom look” she’d use when I’d misbehave that could immediately make me wilt and was always worse than any spanking from my father. But Mom always taught me more by her example than she ever did from any amount of talking. Any attempt to enumerate the things I learned from her would take pages to write.
St. Francis once famously said, “Always evangelize. Use words when necessary.” He was telling us that the best way to teach anyone anything is through example. His comment is the very antithesis of the “don’t do as I do; do as I say” mentality. My mother never had that mentality. She was always mindful of her actions when in front of others, especially us kids.
An unfortunate reality of modern parenting is that most parents aren’t so conscientious about setting a proper example for their children. They seem today to me more about telling their children to do as they say and not as they do by the examples they set. Ask a parent how they want their kids to behave now and how they want them to turn out as adults, they will inevitably describe any parent’s prideful hope for their children. Unfortunately, thanks to our current society and culture, as well as parents allowing their children to imbibe the waters of destruction from the culture, they’re likely to see their hopes dashed.
It Takes a Village?
It’s true that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. The big problem today is the hand that’s rocking the cradle. Take a long hard look at your own life. If you can honestly say you think your children should turn out exactly like you, let’s rejoice together. However, I suspect that isn’t the conclusion you’re going to reach. If I’m right, what are you going to do about it? Frankly, if the federal government has anything to say about it, government workers tasked with the job will rock the cradle for you, indoctrinating your kids for life.
If you don’t want the culture to or government to decide how your kids turn out, and if your ideal for the way your kids are as adults isn’t to mirror you, then you’d better begin to get serious about living your Catholic faith. Of course, in order to live the faith you must first know and understand the faith. Since by their own admission 90% of Catholics contracept and 70 of Catholic men regularly view pornography, I’d say chances are pretty good most Catholics neither know nor understand the faith. That needs to change.
Knowing the Faith
To take a little sting out of the realization that you may not know the faith, I need to tell you it’s not really your fault. Catechesis was so watered down and turned into namby-pamby milquetoast after Vatican II by Neo-Modernists that Catholics haven’t been taught the faith since about 1970. But I have a remedy.
I host free webinars every single week. All attendees seem to be in agreement of two things: they are learning things they had no idea the Church teaches, and the way these teachings are presented is anything but boring. So visit JoeSixpackAnswers.com to get on the list for webinar invitations. Then you can learn all the “secrets” of the Catholic faith.
Why do I keep harping on this catechetical education thingy? Just watch the news. In case that doesn’t answer the question, think about everything going on in the nation and the world. Leaders of states and the nation have now legalized infanticide, gender is now something fluid, homosexuality used to be a felonious offense but is now considered “normal”, the LGBT lobby has already made it clear that the next thing on their agenda is to legalize pedophilia, we’ve begun the slippery slope of decriminalizing drugs… Where does it end? You probably can’t do much to change the evils in the world, but if you want your kids to survive this onslaught, it has to begin with you. You can’t yourself survive if you don’t live the faith, and you most certainly can’t set an example for your kids and teach them right from wrong if you don’t know the faith. Start today!