I would like to share a little about each of these and help you reflect upon your own life and maybe think again about what the holiday season means to you.
Mi familia has been the greatest blessing and asset to me in this world. There is seldom a day that goes by when I do not feel a sense of gratitude for the family that surrounds me. Like most families we have our traditions and customs that reflect this time of year.
Whether making tamales together, Christmas Eve celebrating the birthday of mi tío, Christmas day together enjoying one another while feasting on tamales, kielbasa from Stanley’s, of course, and our annual gift exchange; nuestra familia makes time together a priority.
I know that not every family is able to be together, but just do what you can to enjoy the family that you have in your life and let them know what they mean to you.
Remember this also—it’s a great time for forgiving; nobody is perfect and everybody deserves a second chance so don’t waste the opportunity to reach out to those important people in your life who may have strayed.
La vida buena, la vida dura, la vida mia, la vida tuya
Life doesn’t always work out the way we planned; there are things that we just can’t control, and that is just reality.
One thing above all else remains the same, everybody has choices. Now there are a million things that can affect what your choices are, and some will have more than others.
I recently shared an idea with a student of mine, who was interviewing me for a journalism project. She asked me to share a quote that I would want students to remember. Initially, I thought of a few common things that I often say in my classroom—things like, don’t be sorry, be better or no excuses, just results.
Although I feel those are good to apply to everyday life, I wanted to share something deeper and this is what I said: Life is full of things that we cannot control, but how you deal with the things that you can control will determine who you are as a person. Just something to think about.
As I have written previously, life is truly a gift that we all have been blessed with—don’t waste it!
A quote from one of my favorite movies Bronx Tale is ‘there is nothing worse in the world than wasted talent’. You possess your own special talents and abilities no matter who you are. It is critical that you discover and embrace those talents and abilities and then use them to carve your path in this world.
What are you thankful for?
So what is it? Health, family, talent, looks, friends, intelligence, shelter, food, possessions?
Obviously, this list can go on and on, but my point is to get you to think. Often times, we get down due to the beating that life can give us.
The most important thing to do when you are going through tough times is to remain positive. I know it is hard to do, but as soon as you develop a mentality of negativity then you are only making things worse. Instead, try to think things like this too shall pass, or it could be worse, because the reality is it can always get worse.
Everything happens for a reason—the reason may not be apparent right away, but in time things have a way of balancing out.
It’s not just about gifts
The Holidays are very hard for some people; studies have shown that many people become depressed because they are unable to give or get as much as they want or are simply alone.
The saddest thing is the idea of gift giving is so commercialized—meaning, every commercial on T.V. or radio right now is talking about great gifts you can give to your loved ones as though that is the measure of your love for them. This causes us to then feel like we have to buy things to show our love, which is totally ridiculous.
I am not saying don’t buy gifts; what I am saying is seek the true meaning of the season and don’t get caught up in the hype.
Times are hard and many people are struggling just to make ends meet. I can remember being in high school and we were really struggling ourselves; my pops told my brother and I that we weren’t having Christmas this year.
I understood then and saw how hard it was for him to have to tell us, but now that I am a father I truly appreciate what that must have been like for him. It is a memory like that which makes me think Nintendo Wii…$249.00…IPod…$149.00…Ecko fit $120.00…jewelry…$500.00…people who love or care about you…priceless.
There are others who need you
This is the season of giving so do what you can, whenever you can to help others. If you haven’t gotten it by now I am big on community service and giving back.
Now is the perfect time to think of others and have a positive impact on your community.
My challenge to you is to make it a priority to do something for someone or some organization in need. You are going to have some extra time on your hands soon with winter break, so there is no reason not to.
Hope you have a safe and Happy Holiday season! ¡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!