Latino Children In The US Could Have Very Different Childhood Memories

Some Latino children in the United State have had a very different upbringing in the United States than their parents had in their respective countries. The children of many of the immigrants have better access to technology, access to a free public education, and a free-er life. Many parents who came to the United States wanted their children to receive the best possible education, and they wanted their children to have some of the toys and pleasures that they did not have. The parents who spent most of their own childhoods in restrictive environments wanted their children to have an easier lifestyle, and they wanted them to keep their childhood innocence for as long as possible. In Cuba, for example, parents might have lived under a curfew, so they could not come and go as they pleased. Some adults in Cuba also lived under the fear of violence. Cubans dealt with government corruption and extensive censorship under Castro’s rule.

A New Life In America

During my childhood in Miami, I remember when my best friend, a Cuban immigrant, invited me to her home for the first time. I thought that I had a lot of dolls and toys until I went inside her room. She had some of the most beautiful dolls, and they were all wearing beautiful clothes. She had so many games that we’d stay occupied for hours, playing with them. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she had every popular game.

Her room was all pink and frilly. It was a little girl’s dream room. I could tell that her parents wanted the best for her. They emphasized good grades and hard work. I could also tell that they wanted to be sure that my friend had a real childhood, full of dolls, parties and laughter. I went to my friend’s house to play in her pink paradise. We’d also giggle together when I tried to speak Spanish. The first time that I said the word, agua, my friend Teresa tried to teach me other Spanish words. Teresa and her brother spoke perfect English, and her father spoke a little English. Her mother didn’t speak my language, but I could tell the family was proud that their children could communicate and relate to their English-speaking neighbors.

Protecting The Children

Teresa and her family were not rich. Her mother was a stay-at-home mom, and her father was a mechanic. Her father worked hard to afford Catholic school for his children. As a child, I didn’t really understand what life was like for him and his wife in Cuba. As an adult, though, I realize that he saw possibilities in the United States that were probably out of reach in his homeland. He wanted his children to have the childhood that he didn’t have, and to have to have an easier life. A kind, quiet man, he donned his mechanic’s uniform, left early in the morning when we went off to school, and returned late in the evenings with patches of oil and dirt on his uniform. I don’t think that Teresa knew much about his upbringing, either. He preferred to talk about buying her new skates or making sure that we didn’t ride off too far on our bicycles. As a parent, he wanted his children to know only of the curfew he imposed. He wanted them to be home before the streetlights came on. He wanted to keep government imposed curfews and censorship far out of reach from his children’s experiences. He wanted his daughter’s childhood memories to be made of gorilla playsets, dolls, and plenty of frilly pink dresses. This is what he wanted.