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Lessons I've Learned From My Latino Dad

Life Lessons I've Learned From the Sacrifices of My Hard-Working Padre

A father takes time to help his daughter find the video she needs to be able to finish her school project.

One quality about my padre that many people who know him agree on is that he's a hard worker whose dedication can be seen in everything that he does. As his daughter, I witness this every day. This Father's Day, I want to look back on the sacrifices that my padre has made for our family, appreciate them, and apply them to my own career, life, and relationships.

In my mind, there is no way that I can possibly work as hard as my padre ever has throughout his life to provide for our family. When he was a teenager, he sold clothing on the streets of New York, and worked as a taxi driver to support my mami and I. He eventually owned a bodega that he ran alongside my mami (and toddler me), before taking an interest in trucking, where he delivered Goya products and dispatched and delivered for a petroleum company — I know there are some jobs I missed, but you get the gist.

It's no secret that Latinx — and most minorities — have to work twice as hard, even if we're born in the US. It's like we're trying to prove to the rest of the country that we're capable and skilled, that we belong, and we deserve to make a decent living. My padre is the embodiment of that.

The average person works a 9-to-5 job five days a week, and then gets to enjoy the weekend off to recover for the following work week ahead. My padre is not your average worker.

What is a 40-hour work week to my padre, who works over seventy hours? What is it like to only have one day off a week? What is it like to wake up at midnight to get ready to go to work? If you are like me, you will never know the answers to these questions, but you will always wonder. I can't imagine the exhaustion my padre feels when he finally comes home after a long day, but I know that it's there, even when he refuses to complain about it. What I do know is that he has accepted the challenges that come with his job, and that he does it all out of the love and care he has for us - his family.

My padre has instilled in me that no matter what my job is, to always do my best.

When I landed my first job, I was fresh out of college. Being a part time retail associate can never compare to the amount of work my padre does to support his family. One week, I could be working a twenty hour shift. The next, I could get dropped down to fifteen hours, to thirteen - sometimes even as low as ten. However, my padre has instilled in me that no matter what my job is, to always do my best. And that is what I did.

I wanted to make my padre proud. So my job became about fulfilling the needs of the customer, and providing a satisfactory experience during their store visit. I made the best out of my situation, and became a valuable employee at my job. I enjoyed coming home and telling my padre about my work day. It was a way for us to bond, and a way for me to show him that I was learning from the examples in work ethic he set.

Growing up, my padre also always showed patience, which is something that I have used to my advantage during my search for a job in my field and the pursuit of my dreams. If it weren't for the patience I learned from him, I don't think I would be able to fully live in and enjoy the simple moments that life brings. There is no amount of money in the world that can substitute this, and it is completely acceptable to embrace the little moments while you are waiting for your big career breakout. Jobs come and go, but family truly is forever.

Padre, I know that you are a simple t-shirt and jeans kind of guy who never asks for much in return for what you do for us. You have a quiet nature to you, and do not like to talk about how hard you work to sustain the needs of this family. This Father's Day, I want you to know that I love you and have learned so much from you, and that even in moments of silence, the magnitude of how you have supported this family speaks loud and clear. Giving up will never be a trait of our family. We follow you and move forward together, always.

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