Raising a teenager is rarely easy.
It is a roller-coaster ride of emotions that change day by day and minute by minute.
I say this as the mother of two teenagers who are good kids. They get involved in some mischief and don’t always "honor their mother and father." They also sometimes grumble about going to early Sunday Mass, but my daughter and son have been active parishioners as choir member, cantor, altar server and lector.
And then you have one of those moments where your child shines so brightly that you’re left speechless. That happened last weekend when my daughter performed a monologue during a Rochester Latino Theatre Co. production.
Now, she has performed in musicals before, but this was personal. She spoke of the unique challenges and joys she has experienced growing up in two cultures. She openly admitted that she could have lived a life of white privilege due to her light skin color. While proud of her Irish and Puerto Rican heritage, she is determined to show the world what Latinos bring to the table. She wants to be a public servant so the Latino voice is present in government and business at all levels.
As Father Bob Werth pointed out, that call to service doesn’t just happen. It comes from that strong foundation of a supportive family and her faith.
All of the young people who shared their stories in "Cuentos del Corazón" made Rochester proud as they spoke of overcoming low expectations and negative stereotypes. They are a blessing and represent hope for what Latinos can accomplish with education and perseverance.
As my Julia said in the final words of inspiration from her idol, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor: "The Latina in me is an ember that blazes forever."