This is a personal story with a moral.
I walked out to say, hi, to my pool man, the other day. His name is Roberto and I suppose he is 35 years old. We talked about the pool, and I remembered some furniture he might need.
I had up graded a barbecue and my patio furniture, so I asked if he would like to have the old stuff. His English is weak and my Spanish is terrible, but he told me he would be grateful for the furniture, however there was a slight caveat: He is active in his church, and he admitted he wouldn’t accept the furniture for himself: he would take the furniture to the poor people in his church in Mexico. I told him, I had no problem with the arrangement. He was overjoyed with the news; apparently, he has a giving spirit.
After observing his reaction, I walked with him around the garage and barn, I found a few more items he could give to the needy.
I helped him load the pieces in his small pool cleaning truck, and I was amazed at how happy he was. When we were finished, he asked if he could speak to me using the formal manner of respect of old Mexico.
“Of course,” I replied.
“I failed my citizenship test,” he blurted out, without hesitation.
I had no idea he was involved with the process. I asked him to tell me about the test.
“I scored over 75% on my reading of English, but I need to score higher on my English speech and my history,” Roberto explained.
“What history do they test you on?” I asked.
“The Constitution, the Revolution and some of the important men,” Roberto replied.
I was astounded. “You’ve read the Constitution?” I asked.
“Yes, sir, but I don’t understand all of it,” he said.
“Do you know about the Declaration of Independence?” I asked, in a state of disbelief.
“Oh, yes, it is very beautiful,” he said.
“Do you know what July 4th is?” I asked again.
“Independence Day, 1776,” he said with a big grin.
“And you failed? Look, I will be working hard until January 1, but after that, I will teach you all you need to know about American history and you will pass your test and become a good American,” I told him.
Again, he smiled a big smile and thanked me at least 20 times, finally I said, “It will be an honor for me to teach you American history, there is no need for you to thank me. Just come to my house and be ready to learn. I will have enough material for you to pass a college exam on this era. We’ll go fast and hard and take no prisoners; in a few weeks, you will take the test and score in the high nineties.”
He told me, they had assigned him a teacher, but he felt better about having me for a professor.
We laughed and I told him, I had always wanted to be a college professor, but he should work with the assigned teacher as well. I told him not to tell the other teacher about me, because we would give him a few history lessons.
I will enjoy my new job as a tutor, but there is more to this story and it applies to all of us. First and foremost, he is not a criminal. He is going through the legal process and learning about his adopted country. Now, how many of us would brush him off and consider him to be one of Obama’s favored illegals?
He is serious about learning America’s history, and I have a feeling he already knows more American history than many Americans. It would be a tragedy not to give this man the respect he deserves, but how do you distinguish him from the illegal alien who wants to ride the gravy train? I don’t have the answer, but I know we should not stereotype these people.
I am willing to bet, he and his children will be Americans that we can be proud of. Oh, by the way, he said he would help me improve my Spanish as a payment. I told him my Spanish needs some major improvement.