Thanksgiving Thoughts

            This past week was Thanksgiving; a time where it is encouraged people spend time with their families and loved ones, contemplating what they are thankful for. This is also a high impact week for those who work in the financial sector. Many businesses prepare for Black Friday sales. Most consumers attempt to make it in the doors of their community banks before the holiday to handle any business possible so they can spend the rest of the weekend at peace, or at least only worrying about surviving the lines of Black Friday. As I wrapped up my own work each day I pondered what the Barrio was thinking about as they finished their work with their clients and attempted to rush home. Angel told me that he was thankful for everything he had in his life. He was thankful for all the blessings as well as the hardships. The hardships, really I thought to myself. Curious I then asked Angel why that was and this is what he had to say:

“If I haven’t had all the hardships that I have had to endure then I wouldn’t have learned how to become a stronger person. I have had many challenges and honestly at times I considered just throwing in the towel and giving up. But you know why I didn’t? My son, Angel is the reason I fight everyday through the challenges I have to. If I don’t learn how to be successful for him when what will he learn to be like? So I am thankful for any opportunity I have to show my son what the human spirit can endure.”

Hearing this made me wonder what other members of my barrio were thinking about. I went to Claudia, one of the first people I interviewed and asked her what she was thankful for. “Oh I am thankful for my family. They’re the reason I work. They’re the reason I try to do my best for my job. My family is so proud of what I have accomplished, especially my fiancée. I can’t wait to have a family with him some day. He’s the reason I wake up and put all my efforts into this job, so we can have a great wedding and eventually a great life together.”

After talking to Claudia and Angel I could see the spirit of Thanksgiving wasn’t lost in consumerism of the season. Family was still something that inspired people. They were the reason why those in this barrio, but probably every barrio did the work that they did. Family was probably what inspires those who work the countless hours in restaurants, or the fields tilling the earth. People work so their families have opportunity for prosperity. Fathers and mothers make ultimate sacrifices for their children, giving them every chance to have lives better than their own. Even though I don’t have children or a fiancée after talking to the members of this barrio I become more appreciative of my own family. My parents have done everything they could for me, just as I have seen for Angel for his son. Through these observations I was able to look at my own family on Thanksgiving and be thankful for all their efforts and devotion. Happy Holidays!

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About ocbarrios

Professor for Cal State Fullerton's Barrio Studies class for Fall 2011 semester

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