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Hilbert Morales  Publisher

Hilbert Morales

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Kiwanis Club, Pueblo de San Jose, had me as their ‘program’ for their civic club’s meeting on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at Denny’s Restaurant, Alma/Market Street, San Jose. The initial part of their meeting was devoted to receiving reports, fundraising efforts, and civic activities (clean up of a local park) and their Key Club support. The time came when President Maria Cruz simply said, “Now it is time for our program. It’s all yours, Hilbert.”

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I decided to present my thoughts about the observation I have made that we, as heads of families, do not talk about important topics at home, especially during family gatherings when our kids are present. As Latinos, we are proud of our extended families. But I wonder if we do a disservice to our youth when we do not talk about important topics such as the family budget (money), our core values learned from our religion, and human sexuality. We never discuss public policy based on our core values. In fact we hardly ever talk about current events wherein these core values have been transgressed. So I think it is no wonder that our kids do not really know what our family’s core values may be. Do we really have the same core values and beliefs? We have ethical and moral standards based upon the Decalogne (The Ten Commandments) learned during our Catholic catechism instructions.

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With regard to religion, we rarely talk about our beliefs in God. The first four commandments have to do with our personal relationship to God. The following six commandments have to do with our relationships with other humans, beginning with ‘Honor your father and mother’. It is these commandments that are the basis of morals and eithics which we practice during our life’s activities.

Civic clubs such as this Pueblo de San Jose club have rules which prohibit the discussion of politics. So we do not talk about public policy which is about needed public programs in our community. Politics is about the election of public officials. Public policy is about major issues which we all must face as constituents. And since we do not openly discuss these matters in front of our kids, they often grow up without really knowing what the core values are that we believe and practice.

Many current event topics give us an opportunity to openly discuss and analyze these items in front of our kids, so that over time we transfer the best practices and core beliefs that we all have.

The family budget is an example. As a kid I never knew how much money made up the family budget. Over time I learned that every month we paid rent, the utility bill (water, gas, electricity), bought groceries, purchased clothing & shoes, and paid other bills on a regular basis. As a result, I learned about these essential activities through my own experiences, coupled with a realization that one had to make choices based on one’s priorities. My reality issues were tempered by honesty, integrity, and reliability….my own and that of others with whom I developed a relationship. At this point in my life, I know that I would have had an easier time had my parents discussed, and revealed, how priority decisions were made. I would have learned to be frugal, to do camparison shopping, and their approach to the purchase of major items such as a car or home. We need to talk about these things during family meals/gatherings so that our kids experience us using our core values when making decisions. Our culture and its practices are transferred by our example and behavior. The same occurs when dealing with our personal sexual development.

Current topics impacting our community need to be talked about when our kids are present. We will soon have elections for a new mayor and city council members. It is important that our kids know that we are registered to vote and do vote. That is the participation required of each of us if we are to be governed by elected officials we select. That is what democracy is all about.

Families must talk about these important topics around our kids at home. Other issues include ‘what is good behavior in public’, the value of education, and the role of taxes and fees which support local government in delivering services needed by our individual families and this community. We need to talk about these things and teach our kids our core values and sense of fairness.


© 2011 news el observador ·A weekly newspaper serving Latinos in the San Francisco Bay Area
P.O.  Box 1990, San Jose, CA 95109 • 99 N. First Street, Suite 100 , San Jose,  California 95113 • (408) 938-1700