Thursday, October 27, 2011

About Turning the Other Cheek

The Holy Bible.

It is written that if one offends you that you should turn the other cheek, not retaliate. I am no saint regardless of our last name is. I am here to provide you with a contemporary explanation and some guidance as to how to best put it in practice without upsetting the man upstairs or being driven to tears down here. 

The principle.

The whole idea behind turning the other cheek is to offer forgiveness or at the very least to stop the cycle of violence and/or injuries. If like the Babylonians we practiced "an eye for an eye" there would be plenty of situations where we would all be blind. Imagine that I accidentally poked out your eye, then in turn had an eye poked out; the natural progression says that two more eyes will soon be poked out. It would be a wise decision for someone to take the "higher road" and rather than repay an insult with an insult to do so with a smile. 

Cycles and grudges.

There is no greater virtue than to be able to forgive those who have wronged you and have done nothing to repent. To continue down a path where every wrong-doing is repaid with the same could lead you astray from the beliefs that we are trying to instill in you. There is no way to be genuine, loving, caring when your every action is one motivated by anger and hatred because what has been done to you. In the end carrying on in such a manner is a cancer to your soul, to your character. It cause you to rot from the inside out.

The fine print.

There is an exception for every rule. I want you to be morally responsible, not a doormat. If someone does insult you respond to them, let them know how you feel, tell them that you will not stand by that. If someone should hurt you in any way I do not want you to stand there and take it. Avoid situations and people that can put you in danger; if those situations cannot be avoided, take the higher road. 

Fight for yourself.

I would be lying if I told you that all people are capable of rational thought and that every situation could be dealt with in a "adult manner". The truth of the matter is that there are some bad people in the world. Real bad apples. In the event that you should come across one of them. FIGHT BACK! Theodore Roosevelt famously said to "speak softly and carry a big stick". I want you to be respectful, to be a model citizen, and above all else to never lose your integrity. When all that doesn't work... HIT THEM WITH THE BIG STICK.

Or call your father, I will make sure that those problems go on a permanent vacation.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Big Picture

Life is not easy.


One day you will realize that life can be complicated. If it wasn't billions of people would not ask "what is the meaning of life?" but I digress. I mean there are millions of things wrong in the world, lack of clean water, starvation, diseases, hate, abuse, violence, inequality... the list is endless. Simply thinking about all the problems that there are in the world can be an exhausting and depressing activity.


The two buckets.


The key to life is being able to manage all these things so that they do not have an adverse effect on you. There are things in life that we can change/fix/improve and there are others that without some superhero powers we can't do much about. It is important to be able to sort those things into the appropriate buckets. Changeable vs Unchangeable


Then what?


The things that can be changed/fixed/improved you should address them accordingly. Some things take time, others are incredibly hard; just ask anyone trying to quit a bad habit. As long as you stay at it and give it your best in time everything will fall into place. The things that are unchangeable are a little harder to deal with. Um... honestly they are A LOT harder to deal with. I was once told that those unchangeable things are like rocks. If you were to meet a giant rock blocking your path in life there are several things you can do:


a. go around it
b. go over it
c. dig under it
d. go through it


In life there are some things are better going around them. There is no need to get into a fight if it can be avoided hence figure out another way to get to the other side of the path. Some times you have to get over things, like when Mami or Papi correct you. There is a reason why we tell you things, although you might not know the reason, eventually you will understand why we do the things we do. Some times you have to get busy and dig yourself out of situations. These are  the situations that require perseverance and dedication. 


I didn't forget about d.


The last option is what hard-headed people do, think that they can simply power themselves through a problem. While there may well be circumstances where a little elbow grease gets the job done plenty more require critical thinking, planning and finesse. Don't be hard-headed. Think. Plan. Avoid. Most important of all remember to view what you are facing at any given moment as a small part of The Big Picture. Once you have that in perspective it is easier to make the right the decisions and to analyze things properly.









Thursday, October 13, 2011

Believe in Yourself

I cannot hold your hand forever.


Although I wish that you would never grow old; I wouldn't have to talk to you about the birds and the bees, deal with your "teenage rebellion" or heaven help me, boys. If you are only going to learn one thing from your old man, please let it be the following:


Believe in yourself.


Death and taxes are the only two things guaranteed on this planet. There will come a day, hopefully a long time from now, where you will not be able to turn to me or your mother for support. So long as we are alive we will support come hell or high water; I just want you to be prepared in case something happens to us. There are many cliche phrases like "Hope for the best but prepare for the worst" and "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".


Self-esteem.


I can take you to the doctor or give you medicine to cure physical ailments, it is not so easy with your self-esteem. I want you to know that anything and everything is possible, all it takes is hard work and perseverance. If you do those two things you will succeed in life. Eventually I will write about what the word success really means, but for now know that dreams can become reality if you do your part.


The haters.


In life you will meet people who will try to knock you down at every corner. Ignore them. As long as you believe in yourself and what you stand for you have nothing to worry about. It is those who are insecure and feel threatened by you that will give you grief. Do not let them get you down, use their hate/envy/jealousy to fuel your passion and drive. 


The objective truth.


Even if you were not my daughter I would tell you that I find you to be incredibly warm and loving, smart, sharp-eyed, witty, funny and beautiful; now that I think about it I can probably fill a book with good things about you. Even the things that drive me up a wall about you can be a positive (e.g. your lack of patience and perseverance in wanting what you want when you want it). Do not let anyone tell you otherwise, EVER. 


You are perfect just the way you are.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

So I Won't Be a Stranger

I hate my father. 

Not him as a person, but as far as him playing the role of a father, I hate him. Not because he wasn't any good at it, not at all, just for the fact that he quit on us. I grew up hating what he did and promising myself that I would one day be a better father than he ever was. I have realized that although I am named after him, look like him and from what I have been told have a lot his characteristics, personality traits and tastes--I don't know the man.

I love my daughter.

I love her as a person, I lover her as the chance I have been given to make my life mean something. Out of all the things I have missed most about my relationship with my father is the fact that I do not know who he is, what makes him tick. I don't know what team he roots for or what is his favorite song. I have not received a single piece of advice from him in the last 20 years. I will not do the same with my daughter.

This is who I am.

I will write this blog with the hopes that one day my daughter will be old enough to understand and appreciate what her old man has to say. Maybe one day we will read it together and laugh or if I am unlucky she will use it to remember me. Either way I want to leave a record for her to know who her father was through his own words. I want her to know what makes me the man I am, to understand my thoughts, opinions and motivations.