By BERNARDO M. VILLEGAS
I am glad that over the last fifty years, we have seen a proliferation of family-oriented organizations established by married couples such as Couples for Christ, Ligaya ng Panginoon, Marriage Encounter, Parents for Education Foundation, EDUCHILD, etc. We encourage the younger couples belonging to these organizations to include ecological education of their children as an important part of values formation.
A general principle that I learned from St. Josemaria Escriva about inculcating temperance in consumption among children is the advice to parents to always give as money allowance to their children a little less then they need. This will not only help them to be temperate in their consumption but will also teach them the importance of prioritizing expenses. I would especially apply this to the acquisition and use of digital devices such as smart phones, computers, IPads, etc. By setting the right personal examples to their children, parents can help their children develop the very important cardinal virtue of temperance.
In an article entitled “Interior Quiet in the Digital Age,” the following advice is given to parents: “Our use of the new technology will depend on our particular circumstances and needs. In this area each of us, helped by others’ advice, needs to find our own measure. An important question we always need to ask is: are we being moderate? Emails, for example, can be useful to stay close to a friend, but if they become so numerous that they entail constant interruptions in our work or study, we would probably be falling into frivolity and wasting time….Certain attitudes can help us to be temperate in this area. For example, limiting internet access to specific times, deciding in advance the number of times a day we will check social media or look at emails, disconnecting electronic devices at night, avoiding their use during meals… We should access the Internet only at appropriate times and places, so that we don’t end up surfing the web without a specific purpose, and thus run the risk of coming upon sites (such as pornographic ones) that offend a Christian, or at least a waste of time.” As regards purchases of these devices, we should always ask whether or not the additional features justify another purchase or could we continue to make do with what we already have.
Another example of the importance of child rearing practices comes to my mind every time I remember a scene I witnessed in the Old Luneta that was an oasis of cleanliness in the 1970s because it was a pet project of the famous late journalist, Doroy Valencia. A couple from Singapore with their two children were strolling close to the monument of Jose Rizal. I saw one of the kids holding a candy wrapper and looking for a waste basket but there was none in sight. Looking at his dad, he immediately put the wrapper into his pocket for disposal later. He was surrounded by Filipino children dropping their garbage on the ground with abandon.
Much can still be done in our families to develop this concern for the common good among our children. I congratulate the manufacturer of a famous soap brand for its recent advertising video showing a kid picking up an empty bottle at the egging of his mother and dropping it in a garbage can. May the example of this advertiser as well as of the fictional mother multiply a thousand times.
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