Our Hispanic parents, the instrument of social change

Estimated read time 2 min read

With national Father’s Day approaching I found myself thinking about the experience of growing up in Mexican-American and other Hispanic households in the post war generations. For me, the Mosaic Law “Honor thy Father and Mother” has a special meaning. Our parents were the instrument of social change.

The upward mobility of rural based Americans spurred on by the G.I. Bill benefits awarded to those who served opened opportunities for those who had served their country. But it was not easy to just go to school because of traditional strong ties to immediate and extended family members. Also it took activist leaders such as the veterans of G.I. Forum to get the government to actually honor the promises made to minority veterans returning from war. Christian organizations were helpful partners.

In South Texas where I grew up by the sixties and seventies a new expectation of the potential of upward motility had set in. Better schools offered new opportunity. However with longstanding family obligations to parents, and grandparents welfare as well as the money needed to help children get to college one job was not enough.

Many Hispanic father’s and mother’s worked two jobs. Sometimes it was start a small business, get a truck or equipment, pay for Catholic school, or get braces for the daughter. They were determined to make the American dream come true.

My own father was a Mexican immigrant physician who had a hard time finding residency training in Neurology/Psychiatry but persevered. In his last year of residency in Dallas I remember we lived in a broken down wood house with no air conditioning. They had built a new state psychiatric hospital in Harlingen, Texas which needed a Spanish speaking director. It did not pay what doctors in other areas got but at that time it was his only offer.

Today thousands of us who grew up in the Rio Grande Valley have gone to college, become professionals, and or started successful business thanks to our hard working parents who made those opportunities a reality. This is just not the story of just Hispanics but the history of immigration since America’s founding. As Moses and Jesus taught us we honor what our parents did for us.

Professor Tony Magana https://myfindinggrace.com

Dr. Tony Magana is Professor Emeritus in Neurosurgery who spent many years doing international teaching and research including 10 years in Ethiopia. Over the past 15 years he concomitantly intensified his Christian faith through study and worship through the Episcopal Church. He grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Attended Texas A&M University, Harvard Medical School, and trained at the University of Miami. Additionally he took the University of South Education for Ministry as well as attending the Southeast Florida Episcopal Diocesan School for Christian Studies.
Professor Tony Magana, a seasoned neurosurgeon, has not only dedicated his life to medical practice but also embarked on a profound spiritual journey. Over the past 15 years, he has deepened his Christian faith through study and worship within the Episcopal Church. His experiences span international teaching, research, and a decade of service in Ethiopia
Dr. Tony Magana’s writings blend faith, compassion, and wisdom, inviting readers to explore the intersection of spirituality and the human experience. His journey serves as an inspiration for those seeking deeper connections with faith and humanity.

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