I miss my lunchbox!
Friday, July 31, 2009
I miss my lunchbox!
My dad gave me a book a couple of years ago for Christmas. When I unwrapped it I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was his memoirs. In one of his chapters he discusses how his mother used to take him as a boy to the cotton fields of South Texas. There my dad and his mother picked rows and rows of cotton. They would get picked up each morning and ride in the back of a pick up truck and then get dropped off at their destination.
Picking cotton was back-breaking work according to my dad. He would have to carry around a bag of cotton that almost weighed as much as him. It really got me thinking how spoiled some of us are. I feel guilty working in an air conditioned office. I have been working in and out of different offices for the past 15 years. I often work bell to bell. That is nothing compared to doing hard labor in the hot South Texas cotton fields. I know a lot of Americans work outdoors as laborers. It also got me thinking about how some kids don't know the value of hard work. How some kids expect everything to be handed to them.
Do the kids of today know the value of hard work? I'm not sure. I know if my kids want something they have to earn it. My kids can earn money by bringing home good grades and by also helping around the house. We have been very fortunate, my kids have been bringing home good grades every grading period. They earn a allowance from getting good grades. It is enough to get the things that they need.
There are several things that we can do to teach our kids a good work ethic. According to the website Xomba there are 7 tips for teaching a good work ethic:
- Homework- Since homework is a daily task, strive to have your child complete all of it, including the studying (which for some unknown reason, kids nowadays do not consider as "homework"). Explain that finishing the work completely in a reasonable amount of time leaves them free to pursue other interests.
- Give them reasonable chores- As soon as your child is able, let them participate. Most kids love to clean. More than anything, they love to please their parents. Let your children feel this sense of accomplishment and participation on a regular basis.
- Take your child to your own work.-Parents have to work. Try taking your child to your own work. Explain that you have to report there during certain hours and exactly what you do each day. Not only does this let your child know were you spend your days, it also brings a better appreciation for the hard work of parents. This is a great time to explain that work is a part of every day, just like eating, sleeping and playing.
- Praise successes.-Nothing keeps a child coming back for more than praise from Mom and Dad. Thank-you for a job well-done and big hugs for hard work are the key to encouraging your child to continue trying to please you. Praise builds up their self-esteem and encourages them to continue striving to do their best.
- Fair share-Make sure you provide a reasonable amount of tasks in relation to other family members, especially other children. The lesson from regular tasks is not to build resentment. It's to encourage your child to complete a task from start to finish.
- Routine-You might feel varying the weekly or monthly routine of tasks for your child is great. But check with your child first. Some kids just don't care for change very much. Kids like familiarity and it helps them to know exactly what parents expect from them.
- Have your child choose his work- Including a child in planning and doling out the family chores helps build their sense of responsibility. The get to have an active role in the home. This empowers them to look more positively at their own tasks and strive to complete them well.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
I was talking to my wife about this tonight. We are one of those American families who are caught in the middle. We are breaking even. We don't qualify for any financial assistance because we make too much. Gone are the days of the disposable income. So we are caught in the middle inside today's America. Too rich to be poor. Yet too poor to be rich. Sounds like a country western song.
About a year ago things were very comfortable. Living the life of luxury I'm sure like many of you did before all the bailouts started to occur. Right now I worry if my kids are getting enough to eat. I worry if I have enough food in the refrigerator. I worry if I have enough food in the pantry. I work hard. I am a good employee. My wife works hard. We do without a lot of things. I do without a lot of things.
My kids have had to do without a lot of things that other kids might have. They have always had hand me down clothes since I have a lot of nieces. There is nothing wrong with that. This summer we found a cheap volleyball camp for my daughter that was a month long. She was happy about that. What hurts is that you see some of these backyards that have not only a large trampoline but they also have a nice looking wooden swing set. I wonder how some of these people afford this stuff. My little ones ask me when they can have one of those. I don't have an answer for them. My little ones ask me when we can go on vacation. I don't have an answer for them.
Daddy does not know when he will be able to afford a lot of things. I just hope and pray that we have no major mechanical problems with one of the cars or a major a medical expense. People caught in the middle are just breaking even. People talk about how different generations are supposed to be doing better than the generation before them. I don't believe this is the case with a lot of families. These are different times.
A job is suppose to give us a safety net. A job is suppose to give us comfort. A job is supposed to give us hope. I wonder how a lot of families like us caught in the middle are supposed to send their kids to college. I have no idea.
What is sad is that my older daughter realizes that we cannot do a lot of things that her cousins do. Like the trooper that she is she helps us by explaining to my little ones that they have to sit tight. She tells them to hold on. She is right. I expect things to rebound. We cannot put them in YMCA or in different camps. That is not possible. We are rich when it comes to giving them plenty of love. We are a close family. We are fortunate that everyone is in the A-B honor roll. We agree that an education is important. Maybe they can get a scholarship and keep pursing their education like their parents.
We are blessed in so many ways. The girls love their parents. They are smart. They listen. The little ones don't necessarily know the difference about being rich or poor. My heart breaks for my older daughters who know this has to do with the economy. I think my faith and my prayers keep me going. For some reason someone up above has always watched over my family. One day I will give my kids that trip to Disneyland that they so deserve. I will give them that trampoline and swing set that they deserve. I will give my wife that trip to Vegas or to Mexico that she so deserves. I am determined.
Are you caught in the middle?
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
I am really tired of tailgaters on the road. I am not talking about the tailgating that happens in a parking lot before a UT Football game. Why does one have to tailgate? What about the people that tailgate and text at the same time? Do you have a deathwish? I normally drive the speed limit or faster depending on how early or late I am . But I really believe San Antonio has some of the worst drivers in the country. I'm sure many of you will agree.
I am talking about the people that tailgate on the road every morning. Is it necessary to tailgate? I am tailgated by men and women of all ages. Do these drivers have to get right up on my butt? Did anyone ever pay attention in driver's education about the proper following distance? You know who you are!
I can't believe that some of the tailgaters I run into are women. I have even been tailgated by women putting on makeup at the same time! I will never do anything intentional because I always have kids in the car. In fact I will move out of the way for you Mr or Mrs Tailgater! Some drivers don't even care if there are kids in the car. They will still tailgate you.
I have not even mentioned about people who swerve in and out of traffic. Don't get me started.
I feel better now. Thanks for listening.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Great Grandparent ( Lenor's Parents)
Eleno Martinez/Juanita LLamas
Villa de Noriega Nuevo Leon Mexico
Great Grandparent (Carmen's Parents)
Segundino Arguello/Ambroisa Torres
Lampasos Nuevo Leon Mexico
Carmen Arguello/Leonor Martinez LLamas
Carmen born 1900-Lampasos Nuevo Leon Mexico
Leonor born 1900-Villa de Noriega Nuevo Leon Mexico
I wanted to thank my dad for keeping such good records for us. I am very humbled looking at my Grandparents immigration paper work and Alien Registration cards. I see from these cards that they entered the U.S from Laredo Texas in 1906. To think that they came to this country looking for a better life. They came here in search of the American dream that some of us have and some of us are still searching for.I never had a chance to meet any of them. I think I was a baby when my last remaining Grandparent was still around. I wonder what they were like. I think my dad would carry around some of their mannerisims. I think I would too. I would love to talk to them today. I wish I could. I would tell them how thankful I am. How thankful that they decided to make a better life for us. How it has not been a easy thing to do. But we have done our best.
I would like to think that my Grandparent's and Great-Grandparent's would be proud of all of our accomplishments. I think they would be proud of all of my brothers and sisters and all of our families. I know they would love seeing all of the kids. I just want them to know that day in 1906 when they crossed the bridge in Laredo Texas was not in vain. That crossing set off a chain of events that led to their reward. We are the end result . We are their rewards. Each one of my brothers and sisters have been big contributors to our society and to their legacy. Now trying to find my mother's side of the family...Yikes....
Friday, July 17, 2009
I came across this poem that my dad wrote for my mom. He wrote it back in 2003 for their 44th Wedding Anniversary. My wife said that I should have read it at my parent's 50th Wedding Anniversary. I will try to leave it in its original form. Here it is.
"My dearest darling a long time ago I lived in a poor neighborhood. The barrio was my home , better known as the hood. Gangs, knives, were common those days and I never knew if I would live to survive another day.
Then one bright and sunny day you happened to come my way.You changed my life and you took me away.What you saw in me I'll never visualize. What I saw in you was an angel in disguise.
When you are young at heart it's hard to realize that one day in the future you would be my wife. When you are but a teen it's hard to understand that god set you aside to be my queen.
You gave me the inspiration that I never had. You gave me the courage to see what's ahead. You gave me the class that best fits you.
You gave me your love and nine kids too.
You have guided my life all through the years, during moments of joy and moments of tears. I've had a thousand jobs. It's been a hassle just to accomplish my dream to build you a castle.
I could never repay you for the things you have done for me. The castle is our castle for now and eternity."
I think this poem is an example of their love and the bond that they have even today. I think the kids and the family are what holds everything together.
Very nice! (In my Borat voice)
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Savannah Loop is a family friendly trail that offers hiking, biking, and running for all ages. This trail is 2.3 miles of Spanish moss and native Texas plants and trees such as Mountain Laurel, Ashe Juniper, Mesquite and Live Oak. If you look hard enough you might see a fossil or two located on these winding trails and dry creek beds. I recently took my kids on this trail and the kids had a blast. With my walking stick in hand and plenty of water we navigated our way through the winding trails occasionally stopping to gaze at the majestic Spanish moss trees. On this trail we ran into some people walking their dogs and some people choosing to mountain bike instead of hike. There is a bathroom located next to the parking lot right at the beginning of the trail in case the kids need to go before the hike. Don’t forget to put your trail permit in the drop box located at the trail head so the park staff can be aware of who is hiking.
The Wildcat Canyon trail is located in the back country of the park. This trail is 1.67 miles. This is the more difficult terrain which would be ideal for the more advanced hiking enthusiast. According to the Texas Hill Country Magazine (Summer 06 issue), the Wildcat Canyon trail takes the hiker or biker on a twisting trail that meanders down through the Wildcat Canyon Creek. On the other side, the grade steepens and you are taken up out of the canyon into the hills on the eastern side of the park. The other trails are more difficult and longer such as Sendero Balcones 4.5 miles and Joe Johnston 3.9 miles.
If you are tired out from your hike you can go into to the Recharge Park Store and relax and take in some of the items for sale. T-Shirts, biking accessories, caps, hiking sticks, educational books as well as energy bars and drinks are for sale. There are also vending machines on the property. Cost per person is $6.00 for 13 years and older. Kids are free. The park is open to the public Friday through Monday 7am-10pm. The park is currently under a burn ban. Visitors must bring their own self contained propane unit.
Government Canyon would also be a great resource for different businesses. It would be great for companies looking for team building exercises such as hiking. Businesses can meet at the pavilion or the exhibit hall. Just to get away from the office for a day and escape the stress would be beneficial for all employees especially during the tough economic times. We all can use a little escape.
For additional information please contract Government Canyon at 210-688-9055
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
These are just my thoughts. Come on, give me a little breathing room.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
I see a family that counts on me every day to support them. I see a hard working wife trying to do her part to support her daughters and yet find time to love her husband. I see four beautiful daughters each trying with their own mischievous personality to please their parents and their teachers. I see a family just trying to make it in today's world not knowing what the future holds.
I wonder what kind of world I brought my children into. What kind of legacy am I leaving behind for them? I see them growing mentally and physically at a rapid rate. I wonder how they will cope in a world that can be cruel and unfair. I wish I can have them stay the age that they are now, ages four, five, ten and eleven. I wish they can stay these ages forever. I wish I could watch my four and five year just dance in front of the TV set as they try and imitate dance moves. I wish I could stay with them forever. I wish my parents could have spent more time with my children. My parents have missed so much of their grandkids. Busy schedules and school interfere with this. My children are growing at such an alarming rate. I can't help but wonder if I will be around to see my daughters' dreams come true. The eleven year old will probably be in sports. The ten year old wants to be Veterinarian. The five year old wants to become a cheerleader. The three year old wants to become a movie star.
If I take five minutes and look around, I would sign up again in a heartbeat to be a parent to four daughters. I would gladly do it all over again. I know I will have to leave them behind some day. It will not be my decision to do that. It will be up to god and what his plan is for me. It hurts me so much to know this will come one day. My advice is to stop and take five minutes to appreciate what you have. I will gladly take the little things all over again like the cut knees from falling down or the tears from a best friend arguing with them at school. Stop and think about all the pony tails that we have combed. What about buckling them up in their car seats? Stop and cherish all the nights that we tuck our kids and give them the little kisses and hugs that they want and need.
If I take five minutes and look around, I wonder if my kids will take care of me when I am old and gray. I wonder if they will give me the same care I gave them when they were babies. I wonder if they will support me and my wife if necessary without any problems. I wonder if they will feed me and change me if I succumb to Alzheimer's not knowing who they are. I hope they will stop and cherish the times they have to tuck me and my wife in bed. I am asking you to stop what you are doing and look around. Life is shorter than we all think. If you do not stop and look around, you will miss it.
First published for NPR "This I believe."