Dear El Pachuco Educado

Father’s Day Tribute


The Pachuco Educado,

Mi Carnalito, I am sorry to hear about your father. I understand that not having your father with you can be very painful. Several years ago, I was in Boise, Idaho, for a series of speaking engagements as The Educated Pachuco. As I toured the different schools, I noticed that there were a significant number of Latino students attending the schools that I was visiting. I asked my guide, why so many Latinos in Boise? He responded by saying that the Latino migrant farm workers came to pick the potatoes and another seasonal farm produces. He indicated that many of the migrant camps where the farm workers lived did not have running water or electricity.

I thought to myself, “How is it that people still live in these conditions?” I felt a sense of urgency in my message to the group of students that I was getting ready to present. Latinos must get an education to succeed and prosper in life.” Carnalitos, Education is your Salvation!” At the end of one of my presentations, the kids ran up to shake my hand. One little carnalito (young boy) came up and asked me if I could give him my black brim fedora (Cholo hat). I pushed him aside and said to him, “ that wasn’t the message of my presentation.”

Kids continued to come up to shake my hand. A couple of minutes later, this same carnalito came up for a second asking me for my red bandana. Again, I pushed him aside, saying, “Dude, my message was not to dress up like a gang banger.” After another minute of shaking sticky and sweating hands, and encouraging the kids to do well in school, this same kid came up to me for the third time. This time he was asking for my lokes (dark cholo sunglasses). Now I was getting aggravated. Did he not know that the message was not about dressing like the pachuco but rather to get an education? I shoved him away for the third time giving him un Mirada de cholo (a cholo stare-down). When my guide told me it was time to leave for the next presentation, I saw this same carnalito coming towards me again.

My thought was, “ let’s ditch the little brother and hurry our way out of here.” Suddenly el carnalito, ran up to me and began hugging my leg, as if to tell me, don’t go! With his little sad, brown watery eyes looking up at me, he whispered, “I miss mi papa, I miss mi papa, I miss mi papa.” Looking down at him, I asked him, where is your jefito (papa)? He responded, “esta en la carcel (he is in jail).” At this point, he began to cry uncontrollably. As I watched this young brother crying, I felt a lump growing in my throat. Without thinking, I began to cry with him and thought about his pain of not being able to celebrate Father’s Day with his jefito.

El carnalito (the young boy) was going through the absences of his jefito as a result of a poor choice his father had made. His father was doing time for selling drugs. I could hear the guide saying, “ we gotta go to our next presentation.” I snapped at him and said, we are staying until my little brother is cool! I felt guilty for pushing my little brother aside and thinking, leave me alone, bro I am done with you!.” That’s what we tend to do to kids when we don’t take the time to listen, hear, and understand their pain. I knelt next to him and said, “Things are going to be okay. Even though your jefito is in prison, he loves you, and you should continue loving him.” I took the cultural blanket that was on my shoulder and wrapped it around him, saying, “Take care of your mama. I love you, my little brother. Be strong and do well in school. Education will be your Salvation. With a unique smile, he wiped his tears away with the blanket as he held it tight to his little body. I walked away from this experience a changed man. This little boy had that spiritual, lightning strike effect on my heart. As a result, I have become a better father showing unconditional love for my two sons, Mateo and Sean, and not pushing them aside in their time of need. This young brother made me realize that many like him, can’t celebrate with their fathers on Father’s Day. Some are in La pinta (prison), others decided to walk away, never to be seen, and others have passed away. I missed not having a father, but I can’t change the fact that my jefito wanted to leave the family.

As Father’s Day approaches, make sure you do everything in your power to make good choices so that my little carnalito’s of the world won’t have to deal with the emotional pain of not having you around.

Faithful Father: When you’re a child, it’s hard to understand all the things that make up a father’s heart- devotion to his family…deication to doing what’s best for them…care that’s committed to hard work and leadership…love that goes deeper than anyone can know. But with each passing year, it becomes easier to see and understand what an honorable role model you’ve been and to realize the depth of all that you are…of all that you give. You are Loved and appreciated so much. God Bless you on Jefitos Day.

The Educated Pachuco