Romantic relationships and the 10 cow story

Have you ever heard of the 10-cow story? Well, the story goes a bit like this: back in the Island of Oahu in Hawaii, when a man wanted to marry a woman, it was a custom to offer cows to the girl’s father, in exchange for her hand in marriage. During that time, the average offering was 3 cows per woman, meaning that most fathers would receive 3 cows for their daughters. Under particular situations, certain girls would go for 4 cows; this would usually occur when the female was considered to be very beautiful and/or knew plenty of skills that were considered essential to have in the home (i.e. cooking, washing, cleaning, etc…). However, just like certain girls could possibly be worth 4 cows, others might only be worth 2 cows, indicating that they were less attractive, possibly over weight, or simply did not know how to do many essential tasks or chores around the house. Okay, back to the story, so the story goes that there was a man, who had two daughters; one of which was young and the most beautiful girl in town, not only that, but she also had plenty of valuable skills to bring to a household. The father knew he could definitely get 4 cows for her, maybe even 5. The man’s older daughter was overweight, considered ugly, and was very inept; at best, all the father hoped was that someone would at least give him 2 cows and he could possibly even be willing to let her go for 1 cow. During this time there was also a very wealthy bachelor in the island of Oahu named Johnny Lingo.  One day, he visited the house of the father to make an offer for one of his daughters; the father surely thought that Johnny Lingo would make an offer for the beautiful younger daughter; to his uttermost surprise, the man said, “I came here for your oldest daughter.” The father, in shock, though to himself, “Well, maybe I can get 3 cows for her since he is so wealthy, and he already had this particular daughter in mind.” So the father said to Johnny, “She can be your wife only if you give me 3 cows.” The father was further surprised, when Johnny Lingo said, “I will not only give you 3 cows, I will give you 10 cows.” The father, astonished, quickly agreed.   The next day his daughter married Johnny and they left on a honeymoon soon after. The newlyweds were gone for over a year and when they returned, the daughter was unrecognizable. She was the most beautiful girl anyone had ever seen! She returned competent, attractive, and with such poise that the whole town could not believe that it was actually her. Finally, when they asked Johnny Lingo what had happened to the daughter? How had he had managed to drastically change her? Lingo, calmly and firmly said, “If you want a 10 cow wife; you TREAT her like a 10 cow wife.”

I thought this was a beautiful story that we can all learn a great deal from. In my point of view, our culture always puts all of the pressure on women; Women are the ones that can’t be fat, women are the ones that always have to be sexy, women can’t do this or can’t do that. However, what about the men? The relationship must be reciprocal, if you don’t want your girlfriend/wife to get fat, then you can’t be fat either. If you want your girlfriend/wife to do this or that for you, then you have to do this or that for her.  Sometimes the men make the women feel so self-conscious, when they, themselves, might need work in certain areas of their lives. So my advice is the same advice that man in Hawaii had, “If you want a 10-cow wife, then you treat your woman like a 10-cow wife,” and guess what will eventually happen? She will become that 10-cow wife.

 

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THE MUSTACHE

Have you ever wondered why most Hispanic males have a mustache? Well, in case you have ever wondered… yes, it is a cultural thing, and most men that have a mustache are damn proud of it, and can’t believe others don’t have one as well!  I have no problems with mustaches; not only does my dad have one, but I think even every single one of my uncles and cousins rock one as well.  Personally, I even participated in the whole “Movember” movement (i.e. where you grow your mustache for a month to raise money to battle cancer). 

So why am I bringing up mustaches? Well, the point of this blog is to take the symbol of the mustache, which has become predominantly associated with our Hispanic culture, and expose a bigger issue that is underneath it…which is discrimination. In our culture, the mustache is usually seen as a sign of masculinity and superiority; before we get into that though, let’s go back in history, let’s begin by asking ourselves when was it that the men in our culture decide to start growing mustaches?

One theory is that the mustache in our culture started after the Spanish started mating with the natives and began creating what most of us are, Mestizos.  Mestizo means that we have both native and European decent. Natives, genetically, did not have much facial hair so the mestizos, who wanted to distinguish themselves from the natives, started to grow mustaches to symbolize our European ancestry. You see how messed up our culture was since the beginning? In just a couple of years after the Spaniards had conquered us, we were already discriminating against our own blood. We did not want to be associated with “Indians;” we felt superior simply because we had European decent!

Sadly, we still see that in our culture today; we are still discriminating against our own people. We still differentiate ourselves from people, even people from our own home country and within our own country.  For example, if we live here in America, we think we are better than the people living back in our countries of origin! Another example is that some Hispanics with blue eyes and blonde hair feel superior to the rest of us who are brown-eyed and black-haired, so then in turn, we further discriminate towards the people with darker shades of brown skin and even those who are shorter.  Even most of Mexico discriminates against the people of southern states, like Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz and Yucatan by calling them names such as “oaxaquitas,” and we see them as inferior; we think we are better than them. It is just an ongoing chain of discrimination and we are completely wrong! We are doing the same thing that occurred here in America during slavery, when light-skinned slaves discriminated towards darker- skinned slaves. We are not better than someone just because we look different then they do; we cannot feel superior just because we are taller and lighter. This might sound repetitive but we are all human beings and we should not discriminate simply because of physical differences. Let’s stop discriminating one another and instead value and learn from each other. Let’s stop making such comments such as “oaxaquitas” or “inditos” because those are just derogatory terms. Let’s grow and mature together.

 

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Be Honest, Be Humble

I am currently reading Start with Why, by Simon Sinek.  There is a small excerpt in the book that discusses culture and it made me reflect on certain issues, and I decided to share some of the fragment with you. Sinek argues that as a human species, we were able to survive because we were able to form cultures (i.e. a group of people who have the same core values and beliefs). Sinek explains that when we are around people that believe in what we believe, we create trust and this was fundamental for the advancement of our species. Simon further explained that our ancestors in order to perform functional activities like hunting, gathering, and exploring, needed to have trust in the rest of the community. I believe that we can apply the same concept in the present and trust can help us come together. If you believe we, as a culture, can grow for the better, let’s start making some changes. My father always says that anybody can progress with only two things, honesty and humbleness. Unfortunately, a lot of us are arrogant and liars; let’s change that today! We are a culture in which every individual thinks they know everything! We think we are experts at everything, and that we know everything there is to know! Well, unfortunately, we don’t, we are one of the most uneducated cultures! But why don’t we see that? –Because we are arrogant! We are not humble enough to realize there is something that we can learn from every single person. Every person is better than us in at least one way. There are people out there in the world that know something that we don’t, and that is okay. Let’s promote a new way of thinking and become honest and humble; let’s start to learn from each other.  Let’s start to look for the information and stop simply assuming that we know everything. I’m sure we have all heard people speak about a subject and act like as if they got a Ph. D in it, when in fact, the Ph. D they do have is on STUPID. Our culture is always full of opinions and expertise even though we haven’t even done a simple Google search. Let’s make sure we really know what we are talking about before we make comments. Let’s keep on learning… and how do we do that? By READING!! Turn off the TV and stop watching most of the dumb stuff that is on and instead open a book, search something educational online or at least continue to join me in this blog! We are not going to get any smarter or change our life and culture by watching American Idol or Novelas. (i.e. Latino Soap Operas) Just remember that if together we are going to grow as a culture, we have to pass everything on! As I am encouraging you to read, learn, and look for information, you should do the same; let’s encourage someone today so we can start seeing a change in our culture and on the way we think. I want to leave you with a quote that says, “ Rich people have big libraries, Poor people have big T.V.s”

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Recommended Book- Start with Why- By Simon Sinek

School or Work?

School or Work? I’m sure we have all heard that at one point in our lives, and I am also sure that as Hispanics we have also heard from our parents, “te vas a la escuela o a chingarle,” i.e. “either you go to school or you go to work.” This however, should not be the ideals we implement on our children. In order to change our culture, we need to stop the behavior that has been repeated throughout our generations. Most of our parents did not even get the chance to decide between school or work; they unfortunately had to work from a very early age in life to help the family. One of the problems with our culture is that it still puts education as an option, when it should be a must! Other cultures emphasize education as an integral part of one’s life. It is something that must be done; you can’t opt out. In other cultures, education begins to be enforced from the first time children enter school. We, as Hispanics, need to do the same with our own children. We can’t say, “either you go to school or you go to work.” We have to say, it is either you go to school or you go to school. Instead of asking, “Do you want to go to college or are you going to get a job?” We should ask, “Do you want to go to UCLA or USC?” We need to reinforce education from the time our children begin their academics. We need to read to our children, it is one of the best ways we can get them interested in books! We also need to pay special attention to our little girls; we need to teach them that they should be valued by their brains, not their looks. If we start emphasizing the latter, they will grow up thinking that they can easily get through life based on their looks and that they do not need education. I want to share an anecdote of my childhood and my academia. I remember as a little boy I used to come home excited with my report card because I had mostly A’s and some B’s, and I remember that my mom, instead of saying “congratulations,” would say, “how come they’re not all A’s?” You see, for my mom, B’s were not enough. I used to get angry, frustrated, and reproach her by telling her that B’s were not bad!  I felt that because I had a couple of A’s, she should be proud of me! Now, as I have somewhat matured, I am actually so thankful that my mom pushed and challenged me to do better. I’m glad A’s were the standard, and I believe we should all pass the same concept towards our children. A’s should be the standard; education should be a must! As a culture, we are very hard workers, we value hard work and we take pride in it! I’m sure most of our fathers and mothers have worked their butts off through most of their lives! However, I am sure most of them also are not multi millionaires. We need to not only work hard, but also smart. Reason being, is that we might work hard but if we do not work smart, we will not be able to get the results we need or want. Working smart and hard leads to winning! Our culture instead of taking pride on how much over time we work, should take pride on how much time we study and how many hours we read. It is never too late to learn, and we should continue to learn new things until the day we die. In the end, what we all need to do is turn off the T.V. and open a book!

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Culture is our behavior.

I would like to start this blog by defining the word, culture. The Oxford Dictionary defines culture as the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular people or society. I think the most important part of this definition is the word “behavior”; our culture IS our behavior. We can all have a certain “culture,” but at the end of the day it is our behavior that defines who we are. This is an idea of particular importance because the way we behave can either break or enforce our culture. Our goal should be to remove the set of ideas we have about our certain/particular culture and change them through our behavior. How many times have you heard people use the excuse “ that’s how our culture is?” or “ that’s how we Hispanics are.” Well, lets change that aspect of our culture! Simply because our culture dictates that we act in a specific manner, does not necessarily mean that we, indeed, should have to behave in that particular way. Culture is not explicit, it is everything we observed and were taught growing up in our households and in our communities. As the definition states: our cultures  are ideas and customs, and it is these ideas and customs that are passed down from generation to generation.  I want to ask you this question, Why do we keep passing down the bad ideas, customs, and behaviors? Our culture can change for the best; as I mentioned before, our culture is not explicit—it is not written in stone! So today, I’m saying, let’s look at the bad things in our culture, change them, and then we can all progress together into the future. I am not saying that we should acculturate to another culture and loose our current identity; I am advocating a needed change that we must all make for our future generations; and yes, advance as a Hispanic culture.

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