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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Illness in the family

My son Patrick has chickenpox, and so three other people, who have never had chickenpox, are likely to contract it: myself, Justin and Francis. Trix has had it, so we can at least be thankful that someone can take care of groceries and all that. Illness in this family always brings to my mind the responsibilities we have to people around us, especially our own family.

This generation's ideology and worship of personal choice in everything has always bothered me because its proponents are blind. They do not see that their personal choices are not truly so personal. Take smoking, for example. Smokers love to point out that it is their personal choice to smoke, and endanger their health. I can't believe they didn't get the memo about second-hand smoke that kills their infant children, their workmates, and even people who hang around the train platforms where they puff away as they all wait for the next train. It's no different from moral diseases that we take up on ourselves. It appears personal, but the collateral damage can be catastrophic -- except that the initiators are more caught up with their own situations, becoming oblivious to the people around them who suffer for or with them.

In my family, any debilitation I suffer -- moral, spiritual or physical -- will impact my family. I'd be really stupid to think otherwise. It's hard to believe that people entertain such wishful thinking -- both for themselves or for their loved ones whom, they say, should be given the free choice. This is particularly sad to see among parents who leave their children without any guidance whatsoever. It's their choice, they say, and so their children grow up knowing only that they are entitled to their choices, unaware of what distinguishes a smart choice from a dumb one. One of my heroes, Ninoy Aquino, once said that this generation was of people who are well aware of their rights but have no understanding of their duties.

It's all choice, no responsibility. It is chaos. And if it is not accompanied by an informed conscience and an appreciation of consequences, then it can be summed up in one word: stupidity.

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