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De Parte del Maestro
By Josh Flores

Every day is a gift, unwrap it wisely
This past weekend as I attended and participated in a number of events, including a close friend’s wedding (¡Felicidades Oscar y Emily!) and a Día de los Muertos event, I was reminded of how precious life really is.  The wedding was a symbol of a new beginning for two people and it can become whatever their hearts and dreams guide them to be. 

On the other end of the spectrum El Día de los Muertos is a reflection and celebration of the lives of our loved ones.  Though they may be departed from this life, we always carry the memory of them in our hearts and minds. 

 I feel one of the best ways we can honor our departed loved ones is by living life to its fullest and cherishing the lessons we learned from them.

Take the time to breathe
The world we live in is so fast-paced that I think we have a tendency to simply go through the motions from day to day and as a result we don’t really appreciate what a gift each day is. I am not unlike you in the sense that I have many things going on in my life which cause me to feel at times overwhelmed.  It is during these periods that often I find myself needing to slow down enough to just catch my breath and symbolically breathe.  It is often something small that triggers this feeling and rejuvenates me; perhaps hearing mi hija giggle, or seeing mi abuela smile, or maybe something that may seem cheesy like a sunset or the leaves changing.

Regardless of what may trigger this slow-down period, it is crucial that we allow ourselves to do this on a regular basis.  The outcome—if you do not—could be ‘burn-out’ or it can have a negative effect on your attitude.  It may seem that these are little things to do, but the little things can add up and play a big part in your overall ability to be your best.

On the flipside it can be the little things that can add up and be damaging to you. 

Never stop growing, never stop learning
I learn something new everyday, and when I put what I have learned into practice, that equals growth.  As an educator I feel that it is my job to provide the type of classroom environment which allows my students to learn something new and useful.  However, the classroom is not the only place for learning.  Learning can take place anywhere, any time. 

To put it simply, while books are a great place to acquire knowledge they are not the only source.  People, places, and situations are all things that you can learn a great deal from, but you have to keep your head up and eyes open for these types of opportunities. 

Growth is an action, not just a word
I often hear my students say that ‘they are grown’ but I hope not. To me, when you say you are grown, it indicates that you are done growing.  I know that is not exactly what they mean by making the statement; what they are really saying is ‘I am not a little kid and I want to be respected.’  I understand that feeling, and as a teacher I am the first to show my students respect, but it is important to note that in order to get respect you have to give respect.

So young people understand this, I know you want respect but the best way to get that is to act grown by showing respect, acting maturely, and becoming educated, rather than simply saying ‘I’m grown.’ To the grown folks I know it may seem like some of the young people are hard to understand, but remember this: you were viewed the same way when you were young, however long ago that may have been.

There will be good days and bad days
Life is not always a picnic, but, as you know, it is what you make of it. During the good days, be thankful that you have good days—there are a lot of people in this world who only have dark days.  It may seem like you have more bad days than good ones, but if you have a focus and purpose in life you should allow that to pull you through the tough times. 

Throughout my own life I have been through many times of struggle and whenever I wanted to feel sorry for myself my pops would remind me that I have it better than many people. This allowed me to become a humble, grounded person, who was thankful for all of the things I had in my life.  So whenever you want to feel sorry for yourself, remember the lesson my pops taught me.

Never look a gift horse in the mouth
For those who don’t understand what this means, it essentially is saying that when you are given a gift, you shouldn’t be critical of the gift.  The point is, each day that you are breathing is truly a gift and so my challenge to you is to be thankful and make the most out of each and every gift that you have been blessed with.  ¡Hasta la próxima vez!

I would love to hear from you about my column please send me feedback or let me know if there is something you would like me to write about.  You can e-mail me at [email protected]. ¡Gracias por tu apoyo!





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