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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Reality Check

Reality Check

I woke up Christmas Eve 2016 at 4:40am with the thought that I needed to reexamine my life and determine that I had been true in most instances to family tradition.  I almost immediately found at least three occasions where I had strayed from tradition not because I was rebelling but because society changes and so must we as individuals if we want to excel (improve past family performances).  I imagine that if I spent more time analyzing my life I would find that in many instances, I at least tweaked family traditions to allow for the changing times.

One major tradition that I changed, and the jury is still out on whether, it is right or wrong (for the benefit of family improvement), was to concentrate on my children’s chances for success, by making their first language English.  To understand my point of view, you have to know that I come from long line of proud Mexican Culture.

The way that I was raised, I would speak English in school, and was punished (corporal – smacked with a yardstick) by the nuns, if I was caught speaking in Spanish.  Yet, when I got home all I spoke was Spanish.  I could expect no assistance at home with my school homework, the lesson there is that I became self-reliant.  I performed very well despite the internal battle with two languages at the same time.  To this day, if I have a tough problem to compute, I think in Spanish and the answer comes out in English.

I decided to improve my children’s lives by not burdening them with the two languages at the same time. They grew up very successful, but I have forever been criticized if not chastised for not teaching them their cultural language when young.  Of all my children only one speaks Spanish as well as I do or better, and the others get along just fine.  They picked up Spanish in the educational system.

Another tradition that I broke away from was maintaining close ties with family and friends.  I am not talking about just close family and friends. That tradition I still do.  I’m talking about 2nd, 3rd. and even 4 times removed cousins, and friends that were met at work on the first job I ever had 30 or 40 years ago.  My mother and step-father traveled back to Texas from Washington State once a year to visit family, and even crossed into Mexico to visit family and friends.  I don’t mean dropped by on the way through, they actually stayed at their homes for two or three days at a time.  Even when I visit sisters and brothers out of State I insist in staying at a hotel and renting a car for my own transportation.  After all I am the one on vacation not them, they still have their daily routines to perform.

My wife and I decided to concentrate on starting our own traditions (more normal), major holidays, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and others centered more around the grandchildren are based at the good ole home where everyone was raised (we still have the wall with all the markings and dates of progressive height of the family members, even grandchildren now).  Traditions for us are about maintaining close family ties, and includes close friends.  Our children have already started some of their own traditions like visiting with their in-laws on the holidays after our get together or before.

We enjoy seeing someone that we haven’t seen in 15 or 20 years, but life is so much busier for us than it was when our parents were young, as an example my step-father’s job was as a head-foreman on a 10,000-acre farm, and because we lived in the Northwest he normally had about a two-month flexible time where he could wander around the country visiting family and friends (which he loved to do).

There are other traditions that we tweaked to accommodate the changing times but for the most part we try to toe the line.  The best is yet to come……


  1. For me it was the reverse in many areas, language, free time and traveling, but you have done a good job and for me the jury has decided that you did it right!!!!!!

    1. Thank you my friend. Your words are reassuring, and I know my children grew up perfectly normal, because of or despite, but normal just the same.