I frequently speak about issues of #Resiliency, and sometimes I focus on my personal resilience, and yet, as I reflect on the journey of my almost 90 year old father, I have come to better understand the roadblocks that he has faced, and crushed through his years! His life has been filled twist and turns, and though he had been faced with adversities he has persevered through it all. This list is not an exhaustive list, and contains some of those challenges he has faced:
-Not being allowed to go to school with the white kids.
-Being provided limited scope of educational curriculum (Indian basket making – for real).
-Having to work since he was 12 years old, and picking all kinds of varieties of fruits and vegetables all across California since before then.
-Having to drive his father and mother around with no license, in a car that was far from perfect, since his parents couldn’t drive.
-Working in a canning factory far away from his family as a young teenager in order to send money back home for the rest of the children in the family to survive.
-Not being to graduate high school, until returning to adult school in his thirty’s.
-Serving in the military, under age, until being called home to care for the family after his father had passed.
-Returning home to care for many of his younger brothers and sisters, in many ways as their father.
-Experiencing the loss of the love of his life, my mom, in 1977!
-The loss of his home due to unforeseen circumstances in a bad relationship.
-Powering through to find the new love of his life, a wonderful women, who has added so much to his life over the past 25 + years!
-Working for and with his profession as an operating engineer for 50 years!
-Being self-taught to be a butcher, carpenter, electrician, masonist, landscaper, and all around Jack-of-all-trades in order to make ends meet!
Caring for many, providing love to all, and always being an encouraging person to each person he met. He is an empowerer!
Never taking a drink of alcohol, being a man of faith, and always placing family above self.
My father has consistently told each of his children, his grand children, his nieces, and nephews to follow their passions! He would say, “If you follow your passions you will never have to work a day in your life!” And, he would follow up with “Continue your education, even if it’s one class, keep learning!”
These are but a few of the challenges that he has faced in his life, and there are many more, and still he has provided so much to so many.
Dad, I love you! I thank you!
I am often called @ResiliencyGuy and Resiliency Guy, and even “Dr. Resiliency” and as I consider all of this, I think you have been a fine role model for me to learn from, as you have overcome so much, to be able to offer so much to so many for so long. You are a true blessing to me and to us all dad!
Love you, Robert
Dr. Robert A. Martinez is the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Fairfield-suisun Unified School Sitrict and frequently posts on Twitter as @ResiliencyGuy. He can also be found on Facebook as “Resiliency Guy”