What’s on your bucket list?

whats-on-your-bucket-listSo I’m curious: What’s on your bucket list?

A couple of years ago, I decided I’d make up for lost time and rekindle my love for music. I played piano and violin growing up and, conveniently for me, when we moved to South Texas from the Midwest, I “forgot” to enroll in orchestra classes.

Amidst the confusion and transition of the move, my mom probably forgot about it. And then she didn’t. But by then it was a year or two too late, and I only played on occasion at church or for other gatherings.

Ever since I started playing violin in the 4th grade, all I really wanted was to play the cello. Trouble was, it was a lot bigger than I was, and I had a mile to walk to school, each way. So there went that.

I’ve grown a couple of inches taller since then, and I’m feeling pretty good about returning to playing a stringed instrument again. Only this time, it’s going to be a lot bigger.

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I’m a product of Head Start

Welcome to my #Day4 post for #YourTurnChallenge.

I am a product of my parents’ generation, but I’m also a product of a government program that dates back to JFK’s successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson — LBJ.

It will soon be my privilege to work on a project involving this program that helped shape me.

Memories of Head Start
My memories of Head Start, an early childhood development program for low-income families, are mostly about my mom and the First Methodist Church in South Bend, In. It’s a Montessori school now. Head start provides disadvantaged families with essentials for children ages 3-5  and a place to develop socially, socially and cognitively.

Partnering with Parents
Not sure I knew this at the time, but I think Mom was a teacher’s aid. Or maybe parents had to volunteer time if their kids were enrolled.

Anyway, she was there a lot. To my surprise, I may have been a picky eater during my early years, because I can remember at lunch or snack time, my mom trying to make eating fun (sound familiar to you parents out there?):

“Mama Mia, Papa Pia – eat your lunch!”
— My mom

I fell for it – every time. Maybe I wasn’t a picky eater…

Then there was nap time.

My spot, just under the window near the middle of the room, was where I would lay my head for, oh, maybe 20 minutes. (Probably while my mom and the teacher took some aspirin and naps of their own.)

The only thing between me and that cold, asbestos-laden, marbly floor tile was a bath-towel-sized swath of white seersucker with tiny red hearts and a white ribbon border. It was like sleeping on Saran Wrap.

Still, I loved that blanket. My grandma had made it just for me.

my-fourth-birthday

My 4th birthday. Mom was proud; my brother just wanted cake.

In child development, little things go a long way
It may not seem like much, but Head Start gave my family a much-needed boost while preparing me for school and giving me a love for learning. After all, we were a family of six on a minister’s income, which wasn’t much.

I’m not a child development expert, but for nearly 10 years I worked for a child development organization and communicated its mission and impact to donors.

For years, I traveled extensively to gather stories or coach others on it, and I witnessed first-hand how important it is to give children a healthy, strong start to life. It is often the difference between living a future of hardship and poverty – or not.

Like many programs from the Great Society era, Head Start is due for an update. It will be exciting to see how it evolves to serve the modern family and continue giving kids a strong start to a healthy and productive life.

Forget the test. It’s time to ship

Sometimes you just have to get off your duff, quit talking or thinking about it and just do it. Talking, imagining, ideating, envisioning – it’s all great. Shipping is better.

After my last post, I didn’t know which direction I wanted to take with my new blog. I mean, if I hadn’t posted regularly in over two years – and certainly not on a focused topic –  did I really think I could manage two or three blogs — one on culture/family and another on communications?

Nope. So I’m going to combine them, mostly because they’re all related.

Poor Mexican Gone isn’t just a title. It’s a future state. It’s going to require that second- and third-generation Americans like me muster up some cojones to help future generations with better access to education and make sure they are able to push through to the other side, to success.

That’s why I’m shipping. This week, that means posting every day, seven days in a row. Why? Well, for one thing, Seth and Winnie said so.

Honestly, it’s the kick in the pants I’ve needed after a busy year (or three) of major transition. I’m excited for a chance to join a community of people who are committed to starting (or restarting) their blogs.

Fellow #YourTurnChallenge bloggers, let’s do this!

This is a test. This is only a test.

A friend put me up to this, and I’m not fully certain it will stick. Lord knows I’ve tried a bazillion times to blog, only to run into roadblocks – mostly in my head.

Not that they’re gone. If anything, they’re bigger today than ever. Hence the challenge. (I hate competitive people.)

No promises this time, just a mustard seed (if that) of faith that it could work.

Oh – the blog title. It’s from my grandma. She made up stuff all the time. The line “Poor Mexican Gone” comes from one of her best ones:

musico
Cuando hitty con un cartucho,

no come back.
Cuando de repente pún,
poor Mexican gone.

Loosely translated from the ugly Spanglish:

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