Parenting

“Mami, what’s sex?”

Mami, what’s sex?

I heard this question as my than five-year old daughter was coloring, sitting at the table. My immediate reaction was, “Whaaaaaaat is sex?” in a loud clear voice. Gaining a few brief seconds by answering it with her same question, thinking maybe it wasn’t what I had heard. About the loud I’m under playing it a bit, my loud was almost yelled back to see if my husband was paying attention to what was happening as he read the newspaper in our living room.

As usual he was into the news and didn’t offer me much help addressing my daughter’s curiosity.

I did get out of the predicament pretty soon as I answered in a “matter of fact” tone that sex is about if you are a girl or if you are a boy. I was getting ready for the following launch of questions that I was sure were going to be targeted at me. To my surprise she remained silent for a while and kept on coloring. No further questions were asked and she moved on talking about other things as usual.

Woooof, I was more than relieved that I didn’t have to begin a sex ed conversation with her. I said to myself that there would be more time for this same conversation in the future. Boy, and I was spot on with that one.

As a young parent of three children during that time, I felt a bit uncomfortable breaching “that subject” with them. In other words, sex was a bit of a taboo.

An issue that was clearly resolved during her preteen years when I did what I always do when I’m not sure about something. That is, buy a book that would help me deal with all the sex conversation we would have during that time. We read the book together as she grew into her preteen years and we discussed everything she wanted to know.

Since, your first child is always the ice breaker when my other two boys began their adolescence I was more than ready to handle the sex situation.

Parents are supposed to teach their young children the basics of life but, as they grow older they get to teach us a few things in the way. I told her as a preschooler that sex is being a boy or girl and she’s taught me over the years that this premise isn’t necessarily true. There is more to sex than gender.

When my two boys were stepping into their adolescence I asked them, “Do you like girls or boys?”

Both had basically the same reaction with their stunned “Are you nuts or what?” expression.

I wasn’t nuts, what I was trying to tell them was “It’s okay either way”.

via google images

When your child, teenager or even emerging adult discovers that their sexuality doesn’t fit in the box, you have to be ready to deal with their issues. It’s hard enough navigating their sexuality by itself to add more stress factors to it.

The common mistake many parents do is making it about them. Your child sexuality doesn’t belong to you it belongs to them.

Certainly it’s more easy said then done, all my kids are heterosexuals, so basically what can I know about the situation?

Well, I don’t but, I sure know it should feel bad to experience rejection and humiliation because of your sexual orientation. Specially in a world where most people are homophobic. In the States it’s getting to feel like the Segregation Era. Laws are being passed in some places where you can be banned if you are gay, while in others the LGBT community is advancing towards equality.

It’s as if we have a sexual oriented apartheid (term I just made up  by the way, so don’t look it up) going on.

Why do people (parents included) need to place others in compartments of what’s socially accepted or not. Why do we need to lash against what we don’t understand or accept?

There is really no concrete answer to these interrogatives, however you can make up your answer by being accepting and tolerant towards those who make choices different from yours.

A reality check for those who are still in your children rearing years is that they are not going to be always around. Probably they will forget your exact words, but they will never forget how they felt.

They will learn what’s accepted or not according to you, and if they don’t fit they will move on leaving you out of their lives. Family is a funny thing is a sense, we come with a set of them, but sometimes we make them along in our lives.

Family are the people who are part of your day-to-day life and cherish and accept you in every way. It’s not that everything will be perfect because that sure is a fantasy, it’s about knowing that no matter what you have people in your life that have your back covered always.

So “mis queridos amigos” inhale, exhale and think twice before judging or wanting to live through your kin. Before saying or doing anything put yourself in your children’s shoes and then help them get on with life. Being part of our children’s lives as adults is one of the best stages of parenting. Specially when you can’t help yourself think that they have become some of the most interesting people you may know. Enjoy listening, laughing and even crying with them because then they will know that when everything or anything goes wrong in their lives you will always be there for them.

Remind yourself constantly that life is a gift and never doubt the beauty of it or yourself.

“Hasta la próxima.”

Domestic Violence

When Serial Battering Comes Around Your Corner

My blog is about anything and everything that happens to all of us.  Better said, it’s about life with its ups and downs.

However, there is one category that I’m not really into.  Probably it’s because I saw domestic violence from the first row seat during my childhood.

Proyecto Siempre Vivas Mayagüez

As a curious fact, my daughter since her days in college volunteered in a program called Siempre Viva.  She really didn’t know my dad as nothing else then a loving grandfather, so in a way she was bringing closure to all my experiences as a child.

Through her love for serving others, she was able to reach out to many women who were not only battered once, but had suffered serial battering.

Domestic Violence doesn’t know creed, age, profession, or social-economic background.  It’s there and it is not going going away unless we deal with it.

We being a very, very broad word.

Women who are in these types of relationships fail to acknowledge all the signs that lay right in front of their eyes.  They chose to keep their eyes shut, so they don’t have to deal with it.  They want to remain silent because facing the truth is unbearable. Some even think it’s their fault they are battered because they fail to fulfill their partners expectations or desires.

Our society victimizes the victim. Is that redundant or what?  We as in society, the collective  want to blame someone, and who better than the victim herself.  If not, just take a moment to read the comments about the Rice case.  If her then fiancée slapped her and kicked her  around, whose fault was it, HERS.  Really?

If a woman is raped, she was looking for it.  If not, take a moment to listen and you’ll more than likely to hear,

“She’s drunk.”

“She’s dressed like a tart.”

“She slept with everyone in the dorm.”

We can go on forever women and gentlemen, but this post isn’t really about telling tales on one or the other.  It’s about reaching out to someone who is suffering the pain of being battered.

Some are abused verbally and others physically, either way is as hard.  Some are abused both ways, and we can’t help but feel pain watching them struggle with their lives.

People who surround these women have the power of reaching out to them and saying,

“You know what, you are beautiful, intelligent and worthy.”

“You are a great mom, daughter, and friend.”

“How can I help you?”

Don’t be afraid of reaching out and helping others.  If we lose this quality in a world where we all compete in the rat race, where is humanity heading?

Women empowerment is important so they have the tools and resources to face their realities and construct  better lives for themselves and their children.

Each time a women looses her life to domestic violence not only does it affect her family, but also those who struggle with this situation each day.

They become even more hopeless due to fear of the same thing happening to her.

So “my dear amigos” it’s time we reach out a helping hand to those who each day struggle with the horrors of domestic violence.  It’s time we say, “STOP” and break those codes of silence empowering those who are in need.

Life does suck once in a while, but it’s undeniable that with each day comes a new opportunity of making things work, because that’s what life is all about.

When our star comes shining on the horizon nobody can deny not even for a second the beauty of life itself, so never stop believing in yourself or the blessing of being alive.

“Hasta la próxima.”

 

 

Life

What’s your color?

Change requires an effort.

Life is full of colors and shades of those same colors, what’s your color?

It’s so much easier being your same old, same old.  It’s not demanding and you can just live day by day without doing much then the regular things you always do.

Now talk about stepping out of your comfort zone and that’s something.

I’m not only talking about a make over of some sort, but something a bit more complicated like  changing our ways and/or our thoughts.  How we think basically guides us through major life choices and every other thing that goes on as well.

To  tell you the truth, I was pretty much set in my ways a couple of years ago.

Today, not so much.  I have to thank my grown up children for that.  I no longer view the world and everyone that surrounds me with the same perspective in life.

My horizon is so much more these days because of my developed tolerance for everyone that’s not like me.  This amazing world we live in is packed with people, all so different and and at the same time so alike.  This contradicting reality taunts me as I reflect about our human nature.

Our society harbors gays, straights, cruel, compassionate, black, white, yellow, brown, lazy, workaholics, racists, misogynist, activists, bullies, and I could go on for a while.  However, the point is that this is something that isn’t going to change.

As a society we can’t validate wrong doings that harm our society and country, but we need to learn to respect other people’s points of view.

We have a way to lessen the power of negative things that overcome us often.

For instance, some time ago my daughter was very angry because she was the target for racist prejudice and comment from a white Caucasian male, she was referred as brown.  She called me as she drove to her office recalling the incident, you know I told her,

-If you let this get to you, they’ve won.-

-Why??- She responded bitterly.

-Well, because they’ve gotten under your skin.  Even if they are no longer in front of you, you are still carrying them with you.-

-Just think about them in a funny circumstance

I asked her what did he look like before going on, making sure he didn’t look like a Calvin Klein underwear model, after I made sure he was just a regular guy I went on,

-You know, think about him in very ugly underwear and as he talks to you say a bunch of silly Puerto Rican phrases about him to yourself. –

That did the trick because she was laughing her head off after I said a few myself.  Even if it made me angry as well, I dealt with it in another way trying not to give it too much importance.

That my dear friends is called tolerance endurance.  It takes guts to be tolerant in situations where we are personally involved.  People need to learn acceptance, we are what we are.

Even if its tough we need to learn to mitigate some things that will never change.  If we can’t make things change we need to learn to work around them.

Thinking about the children in Nogales, if our government doesn’t do what’s right and solves this terrible situation then something else needs to be done.  What about spreading the voice and trying to get visiting passes to go along and talk to them a while,  bring them books or things they may need, maybe becoming mentors helping them rise above the circumstance, writing a letter to a congressman, or just telling someone you know about them, if you’re far way what about developing a pen pal system???

Anything that will make it more tolerable, trying to bring a bright color into a very dark night.

It’s all about not seeing in black and white.  Life is full of all sorts of colors with their variant shades.  Let’s find one that suits us.  I like to think that all forms of cruelty are the dark ones and all good is bright, but none the less are color palette has them all.

So you see “mis queridos amigos” it’s all about what we do to find where we are on that palette because when our lives reach to an end, we will take nothing but what we did while we were living because that’s what life is all about.

Faith · Uncategorized

Words Are Powerful Stuff

Usually when a teacher asks a student something, he or she is almost always straightforward and to the point, but they tend to use short sentences with words that are not fancy at all.  Using this great reference, I would have to say that words are powerful stuff.  

Words are what we use to communicate with each other, ourselves and the world that surround us.  

via google images

Words are not intended to be used lightly, they should be used with a huge CAUTION sign. 

They can build or destroy relationships, nations, businesses, partnerships, communities of all sorts and kinds, including faith communities.  Which are communities that are intertwined with common beliefs, they share moments of worship together which include prayer, and above all they have strong feelings for one another.  Or at least, in an idealistic world that is how it is supposed to be. 

These communities can have different labels: Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, and the list can go on.  Furthermore, they are extended to Muslims, Jews, or any other religion that come together as one. What makes these communities different is that they are united in one faith.  Each one different, but at the same time similar in so many ways.  

“Some time ago I heard a minister say that he was going to become a tyrant…”

Our differences separate us because we are drawn most of the time to the negative side of things. We still can look forward to building tolerant and peaceful relationships with one another if we put the work in.  The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA was a great model to follow when they condemned the shooting at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Even though they were two different communities separated by core beliefs they were able to construct a bridge of friendship and one was able to dwell with the other.   My favorite part of the statement was,  “our friends the Sikh community”. 

I just wonder,  why can we not just use are words to sooth instead of provoke anger and distress in others? 

Some time ago I heard a minister say that he was going to become a tyrant, it was a mandate to pray at a specific hour on a specific day of the week. Probably the person really did not know what he was saying, if he had bothered in looking up how powerful the word tyrant was I am more than sure that he would have deviated from using it.  He was trying to make a point, but failed terribly because of his choice of words.  

A tyrant is any person in a position of authority who exercises power oppressively or despotically, some definitions take it a little further and add with cruelty. When we pray for others we do it out of our love for them, we ask God to be merciful with that person and to help him or her in whatever is wrong.  How is it possible that in the same sentence we are using tyranny and prayer. One act cruel and the other loving!  

Talk about crazy and this would become it in no time.  For some it is like my mom would tell me, “Don’t  worry about that, words are taken away by the wind” or another of her favorites, “I take things depending on who says them”.   She makes it sound easy to just to ignore the nonsense some people say, but sometimes it’s not that easy to put our minds at ease. 

Some words just haunt us as they linger in our thoughts for a long time.