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Losing Values in Our Latino Families

(By Jaime Sevilla MAPM, M.Th)

Those times come to our memory in which we shared with our loved ones, in different places, who saw us born or where we grew up

As children, we learned respect, solidarity, service, faith, responsibility, etc. Many of us waited with joy for the weekend to go for a walk, attend the Temple or just have a beautiful time with our families and friends. If something happened to someone in our family, we all went there to see in what way we could help. If a neighbor needed anything, we were all with a heart ready to support what was necessary; not counting all the different games we played with our childhood friends.

Everything seemed so beautiful, so fraternal, so special; we felt that we lived in a wonderful world, where coexistence and joy was part of our daily life, and indeed it was. However, something unexpected happened; external situations that forced us to emigrate from the countryside to the city, and on many occasions, to another country. Many of these factors were extreme poverty, lack of opportunities, self-confidence, corruption in all fields, the search for a better future, etc.

In addition, when we arrived in this country, we began to be prisoners of a materialistic system, where the most important thing is not to have a decent job to live, but to live to work; since the different financial commitments restrict our freedom and immerse us in the dehumanized slavery of the daily work in excess. The saddest thing is that when we left our land that saw us born, we did it full of illusions, with the hope of giving our families a better future. But, due to different factors, many have been frustrated with those illusions.

For example, a father or mother who leaves his partner and children, by spending time alone in this country, ends up looking for another partner; failing in this way to the commitment and enthusiasm of those who remained in their land, waiting with hope, love and the promises that they would have someone who would fight to change those lifestyles. There was betrayal, disappointment, and abandonment of those who really were important and worth such a great sacrifice. In many cases, the most important thing has already been lost, THE FAMILY.

But that is not everything. Many couples who have their children are forced to neglect them and sometimes abandon them, due to the obligations they acquire when they are immersed in a consumerist system, making them acquire unnecessary debts. For this reason, they have to have up to two jobs; forgetting the most important thing, the time they should provide their family. Those sons and daughters, not having the time of those who love them, seek to fill that emptiness with other things, which often leads them to lose the principles with which their parents were educated; they end up submerged in environments and friends that lack those good values. Many of the new generations have become children and young people apathetic, violent, liars, irresponsible, without hope in life, etc.

In many cases, it is very sad to see how there are teenagers who are prey to drugs, alcohol, gangs, pornography, etc. All these actions are nothing, but cries of each one of them, asking for help, claiming the time of their parents, grandparents, true friends. But parents are very busy, working hard to pay their debts, forgetting the most important responsibility: their children. Sometimes it is so sad to see many parents serving in the church and neglecting their own family.

Many of them do not even know how their children are doing at school, what kind of friends they have, what they watch on social networks, etc.

I think it is time to wake up from the dream that Latinos have about these great family values; because there are many who do care about continuing to cultivate those values with which we were educated in our countries. There is also a large percentage that no longer care about that, and end up abandoning their own children to the fate of this consumerist and libertine system.
Many of the young people no longer talk with their siblings or parents; others spend so much time in technology that the only friend they never leave is their cell phone. There is no longer respect for the elderly; they are labeled as outdated. It is embarrassing to hear in schools that young Latinos are the most lost because of the unlimited access they have to technology.

Their parents do not know how to handle it or restrict it. Even in the church, children, young and sometimes adults, no longer pay attention to what they are listening because they spend time playing on their cell phones. They do not realize that with this, they are disrespecting a sacred place.

WE HAVE LOST OUR VALUES. WE ARE LOSING OUR WEALTH. WE ARE FORGETTING OUR WONDERFUL FAMILY TRADITIONS.

I am making a call to reflect, to make a stop in our lives, and to make an examination of how our lives are, that of my family. We will surely find many wonderful things, but also many of which we will not be so proud of.

The rescue of these values does not depend on the school, the church, the state or the neighbors; it only depends on ourselves. May the holy family of Nazareth help us with their example and intercession.

Amen.

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