By Andres Ramirez
Latino Y Urbano
Many families come to the United States with big hopes and dreams for their children. They understand that they are making a big investment in the future of their families and are willing to forgo their dreams in order to fulfill those of their children. This is the reality for Latino families that immigrate with young children or start a family shortly after their arrival to the US.
These parents that take the journey to make it here through many difficult and scary perils make a silent bond with their children, born or not: I will give up my life and dreams so that you can have yours.
This is the reality of many parents living here in the States. They work very long hours and many times are exploited by those that see the desperation and need in their eyes. These parents will do whatever is necessary to provide for their children, they will work two full-time jobs, they will sleep whenever they can get a few hours in, they will take jobs that many will turn away, just for a chance to make some money for their families.
I know this because my mother did this for 10 years. At times she had two full-time jobs and one part-time in order to pay for the immigration lawyers. I was too young to realize the sacrifice and too selfish to acknowledge it at the time.
What the parents of many of these children don’t understand is that their children are growing up in a world that it is completely foreign to them. They have problems finding friends, the language barrier is very difficult to overcome and takes years if not decades to master, and they can’t relate to their country of origin. These children are in a no-man’s-land and for many it is a very turbulent time. Add to this the complexities of growing up and dealing with hormones and the drama of being a teenager and you have a very confused person.
It is not until their later years that they finally start to enjoy the bicultural aspects of being an American Latino. They see the benefits of speaking two languages and start to prosper from their worldviews and experiences. I know that this was my experience and one that took many years to understand. I stand here a proud member of this dual culture and have benefited tremendously from my background.
If you are going through this in your life now do not despair, it will get a lot better in your later years. Concentrate in school and you will see the fruit of your parents’ and your labor very soon.