Guest Author - Rebecca M. Cuevas De Caissie
I have recently been asked,"What the values are within the Hispanic community?" This gave me quite a bit to think about. Is there a common thread and belief that identifies Hispanics or that all Hispanics can identify with? Is there a certain thinking that permiates the Hispanic community? Can you almost classify what it means to be Hispanic? Is that a stereotypical way of thinking of a certain group of people? One simple question gave birth to a diludge of other questions that probed deaply into the real reason I actually write these articles. What is it about Hispanics that makes us feel that bond amongst ourselves and that pride in our race that we carry like a flag for the whole world to see. Why is it that our nations are more brotherly towards each other for the most part and our citizens embrace each other and fill in as family when we are seperated from our carnales? Yes, I think there are a certain set of values in the Hispanic community that sets us apart. Almost like a recipe, you take a little of this and a little of that and you combine it in the right setting and you have the perfect ingredients for what I would call the values of the Hispanic Culture.
Before I outline exactly what I believe some of those Hispanic values are, let me add to this a precursor. Not everyone is the same. Within each race there are individuals who hold values that are theirs alone and apart from the mainstream thought and value system of those who surround them, share their lives and even of those who have reared them. That is what makes Human's so unique, that we are able to grow up within a certain set and still choose to change or adopt a differing approach or value system than that which was taught us. To be sure we do have instinct, yet we are not ruled by it. So as I write this please bare in mind that what I am writting about is the values that the Hispanic Community holds as important in general, leaving room for the individual the freedom to disagree these guidelines as it were. If you were to sit amongst a grouping of Hispanics, no matter the country of origin, I think they would all find these values to be a common ground for conversation and most could agree upon.
Family by far is the most valued part of any Hispanic's life I have ever met. When I say this I mean that in a very differnet way then anyone outside the HIspanic family would understand it. To this end I will explain what I mean by the statement of family being most valued. Beginning with growing up, as a young Hispanic, we do not look forward to the life ahead of us with thoughts of ourselves outside the family. We are not independant of the fmaily unit. To the contrary, what are you without your family? To another race you are yourself, to the Hispanic, you are nothing. Everything you go through as you are growing up is shared with some member of the family. Children grow up hanging out with their brothers, sisters, and cousins as friends. There is no need to go out by yourself and leave the younger ones at home as if they are a burden. Of course there are the times when you spend alone, but most of the time you spend it enjoying company of your family. The love and treasuring that takes place in the Hispanic family I have never seen in any other family setting. The way in which your mother and father relate to you is different also. There is a respect that is demanded from children towards their elders. Your parents care for you, provide for you and protect you. Growing up you know that nothing is more important in their lives than you. No matter how busy the parents are, their is always time for the children. No matter what happens in life, one thing most children of Hispanic families grow up with, it is the essential knowledge that your parents and all the other adults in the family as well have always put you first.
In return for this type of acceptance and love, an individual who grows up in this type of family always feels the reciprical toward their parents as well as other children in the family. I do not know of too many Hispanic families where the children feel anomosity towards their younger siblings. Even when a new baby in brought into the family, the older children are very much a part of the family every step of the way. Many are the times that I see children in other families with the "mine" desease as I like to call it. Boundaries for this that and the other thing permiate the non-Hispanic family.
Personal boundaries covering your personal desires that is. The boundaries do not seem to be lined out to cover protecting those in the family or does it go towards including them. It always puzzles me as to why a couple would have children, and I suppose I think more of women as I am a woman myself, if they are always complaining about the children and always looking to find a babysitter, time for themselves and seem to be constantly thinking of how much better it was and will be without the kids around. The lives of some people seems too busy to allow time for family. Time is scheduled so tightly and no flexibilty is there. There is a career, gym, sports, friends, church, shopping, movies, family gatherings and the list just goes on and on. Then there are the toys: boats, motorbikes, race cars, classic cars, sporting goods, hiking, traveling, sking... I tell you it boggles the mind. Even the day of rest is scheduled. I used to live in an area that was predominantly non-Hispanic and I tell you I was tired just listening to the parents go on and on about their schedule, and non of that even included the kids. Is it any wonder why people have to ask me what the value system of Hispanics are? Why we aren't at too many of those multiple functions as we are too busy relaxing after work with our family and friends enjoying the peace and comfort of family and home. I think for the most part we are absent from the scene by choice. Yes the very first Value a Hispanic has I would have to say is family. They are you hopes, dreams, support, strength, cheerleaders. Family loves you when no one else will. When all has failed you, as a Hispanic Family will never fail you. They give you roots, identity, acceptance, devotion, promise, passion, drive and life. Yes Family is life. The very seed of each of us does not rest in who we precieve ourselves to be but from the seed of generations known as genetics that gifts, curses, equips and carves out who we are and who we will be. After all, if you are not Hispanic by birth you can never change that. And if you are Hispanic by birth, you can never change that. Then again, who would want to be anywhere but in a Hispanic family?
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Lamentations of the Caves By Rebecca Cuevas De Caissie