President’s Welcome

President Felicia CasadosNovember 2013

The written word has always been a source of inspiration for me, perhaps due to my love of reading. Having grown up a rural kid in northern New Mexico, books were my friends, my teachers and they continue to be. The last few years I have been surrounding my house with small written signs or what I grew up calling ‘DICHOS’ (Spanish term for words of wisdom). I hang them in various parts of my house as reinforcement for their ‘short and sweet’ messages; I particularly like to keep them near my front door, so I can see them each morning when I depart for work to help me stay ‘inspired’ as I leave the warmth of my home into the outside world.

My attraction for ‘dichos’ stemmed from my elementary school Principal Mrs. Maria S. de Lopez. Mrs. Lopez’s childhood allowed her to grow up living between Mexico and Northern New Mexico; her father was an American engineer from northern New Mexico who had met her Mexican mother on a work project in Monterrey, Mexico. As an adult, Mrs. Lopez married, settled and built a Mexican style ‘hacienda’ with beautiful gardens/grounds in the rural community where I grew up, El Guique, a rural village north of Espanola, New Mexico. Mrs. Lopez was a very elegant woman and the first female principal in the Espanola School District; she was probably in her very early 40’s when I was in elementary school – she had married but was divorced (unusual for a woman of her time) and she never had children of her own (again unusual for a woman of her time). My Mother would visit her on occasion taking her some of the farm products that my family grew and I loved to tag along on those visits. One of her kitchen walls was dedicated to wall tiles with ‘dichos’ which I found fascinating – she must have had about 100 tiles on her wall – she too must have enjoyed the wisdom of the ‘dichos’. I assume she picked the tiles up when she visited her Mother’s home in Monterrey, Mexico because they were all in Spanish; this memory remains with me and I suppose that is where my affinity for ‘dichos’ began.

I’m not a Twitter user/follower/sender – I am already inundated with enough information without seeking more of it to follow me unto my IPhone or Desktop. I expect that in the end, everything in life is ‘re-created’ in new forms and so I’d like to think that ‘tweets’ are re-created ‘dichos’ (tweets are short as they limited to no more than 140 characters) and are the new method to share wisdom and information. Perhaps ‘tweets’ are the new form of ‘dichos’; or as Oprah likes to say “now that’s tweetable” – when a good idea or words of wisdom cross her path.

My point with this message is to encourage each of our students or anyone reading this web message to find something that inspires you as you go about your daily routine. The message we hear all too often these days is that American students are not resilient, that they do not commit to completing their educational journey yet those of us that have completed our educational journey know it is a challenging path. At NMSU Grants I see so many adult students who are juggling work, their families and school – so, yes, we know how hard it is for you but an education is well worth your investment; I know that to be true for my own life. I encourage you, our students to ‘find something that inspires’ you. Inspiration can help us make it thru the inevitable bumps in life that all of us face – don’t give up – keep trying even when you think you can’t – because eventually you will get past the bumps!! It is my belief that no human being leaves this earth without have a few ‘knee-buckling’ life lessons BUT we pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off, grow wiser and stronger and keep going on. Inspiration, in whatever form you find it, can serve to give you an added boost to keep on your path!

I’d like to share some of my favorite ‘dichos’ – perhaps you too will find inspiration from these words of wisdom:

  • “The choices you make dictate the life you lead” (isn’t that the truth!!)
  • “Be Thankful”
  • My newest favorite one that is hanging right near my front door: “There should be a holiday dedicated for every brave soul who has the courage to get up every Monday morning to go to work”
  • This is a dicho told to me by my Mother Juanita as told to her by her Mother (my Grandmother) Emilia Archuleta: “Los gatitos habren los ojos a los quince dias pero las mujeres no hasta los cuarenta anos” (Translation: “Kittens open their eyes in 15 days but it takes women until their 40’s” – as a woman this is a laughing out loud favorite of mine!!

A longer ‘dicho’ that I found recently that resonated with me is called “Do It Anyway” and is attributed to Mother Teresa – this version is said to have been written on the wall in her home for orphaned children in Calcutta:

  • People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
  • If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
  • If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
  • If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
  • What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
  • If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
  • The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
  • Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
  • In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

Felicia Casados
President, NMSU Grants

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