A Gift for Me

My ability to help the Sanchez brothers, with their myriad of different issues, is such a great gift. I get to make a noticeable difference in four distinctly different lives. These are young men who didn’t have many opportunities at an earlier stage in their lives, now are realizing that there are decisions and choices to be made. And they get to make them!
 In earlier, recent blogs, I have highlighted the four Sanchez brothers and the year they each spent living with me. I liked writing about each of them. It reminded me of how far they have come and how far they still need to go. At this stage, now that they are living on their own (with different degrees of success) I see my role changing slightly. While I will always be their advocate/ mentor, I (they) need to think longer term strategic goals. What can I do to help them into the future?
Keeping in mind that each brother is a “uniquely special entity” has to be the first guideline. What’s helpful for Cesar would definitely not be right for Mannie, etc. Equally important in the equation is “What is actually doable?”  I’m the first one to be the brother’s cheerleader for “the sky is the limit” & “You can do whatever you put your mind to” & other positive affirmations. Unfortunately the “facts on the ground” sometimes limit what is actually possible. As an example, take Jesus, the youngest at 20. He will very soon be released from a one year confinement. Helping him with immediate needs like “where to stay” and helping him get signed up for dental and healthcare, etc. Those are the issues most pressing for Jesus. Of course, I still emphasize positive, affirming ideals whenever I have a chance.   

                                            Jesus with Honey

Mannie at 21, is on a different trajectory. Soon he will be the first person in his family, including his parents, to graduate from a technical college. He will have earned a Certificate in Telecommunications. This will allow him to get a job most anywhere. In Mannie’s case, I can be most helpful by encouraging him, making him realize that every week spent at school is a week closer to graduation. Every Friday, I make it a point to send Mannie a text saying “Congrats on another week of school under your belt”. I added a “sweetener” when he started school. I told him upon successful completion we would take a trip, somewhere in the world where a passport is required. We will start the application process for the passport in two weeks (2/3’s completion of school).
  Mannie is definitely the taller of the two of us. On Angel's Landing  hike at Zion National Park

Mannie is definitely the taller of the two of us. On Angel's Landing  hike at Zion National Park

While none of us can predict the future. With a spiritual grounding, a positive outlook and practical “hands on” effort, I know without a doubt that I am making a difference. I feel Blessed to have this gift!
          At Karma Choeling Buddhist Monastery near Auckland, New Zealand

        At Karma Choeling Buddhist Monastery near Auckland, New Zealand