MEXICAN FAMILIES NOW
By Rosalía Nalleli Pérez-Estrada
A family forms the character of a child and develops her self-confidence through informal education. This character can be tranquil or aggressive, depending on how the family is and how it conceives itself in life and in the universe. However, I think that when a child comes to her home for the first time, she begins learning words and attitudes from the people who surround her since the very first moment of her arrival; and their thoughts and beliefs start to generate a new human being in society. For example, in Mexico, at the beginning of the XX century, it was very common to have a commanding father stating what his children could do or what they could not do in front of him, to show him respect. I remember my mother telling me that when she was a child, it was forbidden for her to talk while she was eating at a table. And although she was with her 5 or 6 siblings, they could not talk at all while their father was eating with them. If any of them attempted to play or to talk, he or she was immediately scolded or punished. The reason of his strange behavior was because he argued prevention of choking.
In that time, grumbling did not appear in a family because it could come accompanied by punishment. Even a mother, in a respectful and obeying attitude towards a husband, did not dare to go against his decisions because he was the one who had the upper hand everywhere. However, and without being rude or chauvinist, mothers played a very special and important role which was the real power that created sensitive thoughts, honesty, respect and commitment. Manwhile, this rude man was loved, respected and maybe feared by all his relatives but his word was good enough to direct a group of descendants of common ancestors. I also had to obey him some time later when I met him.
The kiss could not be on his cheek, it had to be only on his hand. Besides, it was mandatory for every child to greet any adult on his way home, because it was a form of showing off how well educated he or she was. This similar respect had to be shown towards an adult, a religion, a teacher and for everything.
Besides, little was known about constant kidnapping, murdering or robbery. Furthermore, the family, the school and the religion controlled the society in a more effective way, although they sometimes did not respect critical thinking at all, neither did they promote entrepreneurship, inclusion, human rights, social participation or complex thinking.
Now, things have changed. New families are being formed with different members and several forms of behavior. Additionally, the creation of many new religions everywhere; with weak, less civilized representatives, whose poor instincts come to light too, are losing followers and believers. Now, very few people greet good morning or good evening when they walk in the street and the leading figure in the family is fading that it is sometimes the children who command at home. The grandparents are sometimes forgotten or left alone because nobody listens to them or follows them anymore.
The new families are forgetting to those who educated them in childhood and modern thoughts are provoking a chaos everywhere. After all this, it seems that the only institution that continues trying to do its tasks and commitment with the family to create a better society, based on humanistic ideals, is the school. In it, with formal education, there are still many teachers and principals who continue believing in constant reading, motivating talks and common practices to help the society understand the mystery of its existence but through factual knowledge. I know it as a fact because I am everyday among hundreds of teachers and I listen to their speeches. I am a witness of their dreams, class preparation, and of their commitment to collaborate with others´ improvement. Many professors, in class, are still struggling to save a society which seems to be doomed to disappear forever, because of greed, desire, ambition, jealousy, laziness, poverty, dishonesty, discrimination, ignorance, unproductivity impunity, indifference, inequity, lie, hate or pride. These are some words that a family sometimes cannot control if it is not aware of their existence in their minds and then, they allow themselves to forget their everlasting spirit in a body and mind with false thoughts of eternity.
*Rosalía Nalleli Pérez-Estrada. Directora de Universidad Santander, Campus Tlaxcala. Profesora por asignatura, de la Universidad Politécnica de Tlaxcala y en coordinación del Departamento de idiomas de la misma universidad. Investigadora invitada por CIFE y Fundadora de la Sociedad Anónima Madison School Come to be the Best, desde 1999.
Rosalía Nalleli Pérez-Estrada