Quotes & Quips: Wise Words to Live By

"The Coaches" circa mid-1980s (García Family photo)
“The Coaches” circa mid-1980s
(García Family photo)

“Coach ‘em up, and let ‘em play.” ~ Fred O. (Lico) García

Fred O. García is my dad. Even though he passed away almost 20 years ago, I turn to him often for advice. He taught his children how to live a productive life through anecdotes, analogies, and one-liners I call “Licoisms.” His simple philosophy on raising kids is one of my favorites.

He would say that you can’t start teaching values when kids are teenagers, people can learn values from the time they are babies. Together with my mom, they prepared my siblings and me for the tough road called life. He taught us the values of respecting ourselves and others, working hard, taking responsibility for our actions, and owning up to our mistakes. From mom, we learned to trust in God, love unconditionally, and give to others less fortunate.

My dad believed that once children have a strong foundation of values, parents should let them take risks and make mistakes. According to Lico, mom and dad’s role is to be there for more coaching to “help steer them back on track when they wander off.”

Recently, an old friend shared with me that her son was going to start the 8th grade in a few weeks. She commented how it seemed like he went from a little boy to a teenager from one day to the next. I told her that the transition from teenager to young adult happens just as fast. We chuckled and continued sharing stories about our kids.

Then, reality hit me. My daughter Marisa will drive back to Los Angeles soon to start junior year at Loyola Marymount University and Erica is entering senior year in high school. Both are taking big steps in their lives. Marisa and a few friends have rented an apartment off campus. We will move Erica into a college dorm room right around this time next year.

My chuckle quickly turned into concern. I’ve been around enough to know that college isn’t just about term papers, mid-terms, and finals. Alcohol, parties, and other unknown dangers lurk around every corner during down time. Outside the relative safety of campus security gates is a world filled with beauty, wonder, and yes, even bad influences, evil, and darkness.

I thought about how Sandra and I have taught the girls to be independent and confident. We’ve shared with them the values our parents shared with us. On a daily basis, Marisa and Erica make more decisions on their own as their transition to adulthood evolves. It’s easy to worry about external forces that could shape the rest of their lives.

After some more thought, my parents steered me back on track. Concern turned back into a chuckle. My parents were pretty good coaches. God has this figured out, and Sandra and I coach the girls the best we can. As Lico would say, now it’s time to “let ‘em play.”

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Quotes & Quips: The Power of Purpose

Celebrating my daughter Erica's quinceañera -  November 3, 2012 (Sandra and Eddie García family photo)
Celebrating my daughter Erica’s quinceañera – November 3, 2012
(Sandra and Eddie García family photo)

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

The great English playwright wrote this sentence in a long letter to a friend about the allure of money and power versus the meaning of purposeful life work. You would think he was commenting about today’s media fascination with the rich and famous. But he wasn’t. He wrote it in 1905.

When I was a kid listening to the grown-ups talk about work, the word purpose was never part of the discussion. Work was a means to put food on the table and pay the mortgage or rent. Any extra money went towards an occasional backyard barbecue and a few beers on the weekend before going back to the grind of the work week.

My parents wanted me and my five siblings to get a college degree so that we could have an important career and earn enough money to live comfortably. When I finally graduated from college, I set out to do just that. I soon became a run-of-the-mill workaholic trying to bring home a good paycheck and make my family and friends proud.

I had never heard about the concept of working with a purpose until I participated in a year-long Fellows Program called the American Leadership Forum. The concept is simple: figure out what gets you up in the morning, find a way to make a living doing it, and give it all you’ve got. I gave these ideas some thought, but the reality of financial commitments and my thirst for success didn’t allow me to do much more than that.

The high-pressure career, and the prestige and perks that came with it drove me to work hard every day. Striving for personal success kept me busy until I had a health crisis that changed my life. Then, in an instant, it all came to a screeching halt. God sent a clear message. An all-consuming quest for personal achievement isn’t in His plan for me.

On a daily basis, I struggle to reconcile what I thought was the definition of success with what I’m destined to do. I still miss the hustle and bustle of working in executive management, not to mention the financial security. But my journey has led me to a deep understanding of passion and purpose.

I’ve come to realize that helping others along their journey and being with people I care about are my passions. I now work with purpose through sharing stories on East Side Eddie Report.com and mentoring others, and I live with purpose when I’m around those I love.

You can find joy in your life. Discover your passion. Work and live with purpose. You’ll be glad you did it.

Quotes & Quips: Living One Moment at a Time

the alchemist

“I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living now.” ― Paolo Coelho, The Alchemist

If you haven’t read The Alchemist, read it as soon as you get a chance. It’s the story about a boy who has a dream about buried treasure. A wise man tells him to follow his dream, so the boy sets out on the long journey from his home in Spain to the find his fortune. Along the way, he meets good and bad people and experiences success and great loss. Once he arrives at his destination, the boy realizes that the treasure was the journey itself.

What fascinated me about the story was how the boy immersed himself in what was happening to him at any given moment. While his ultimate goal was realizing his dream, he didn’t let that get in the way of experiencing the journey one moment at a time. For most of my life, this concept has been totally foreign to me. I’ve always lived, not in the present, but analyzing past events to create a better future. I was always a few steps ahead of myself.

Unlike the boy in The Alchemist, I spent most of my life preparing and planning for future success and happiness.  In the process, I didn’t fully experience the joy and sadness life had to offer. A health crisis four years ago forced me to live one day at a time. Shortly after recovering, a good friend recommended that I read Paolo Coelho’s masterful fable. I found the tale to be profound, yet perplexing.

Although the meaning of the story resonates with me, I still struggle to truly understand the concept of living in the present. Like most people, I worry about the mortgage, paying for my daughters’ education, and funding retirement. Voice-mail, e-mail, texts, and social media are always there to distract me from the present moment. Despite these distractions, I now try to live one day at a time.

Every once I awhile, I’m able live in the here and now. For me, it’s different and kind of strange, but it’s fulfilling. I better understand what it means to be alive. As I write, I hear birds singing outside my window, see trees swaying in the wind, and smell the freshness of morning through an open door. They’ve always been there, I just didn’t know it. I’m reminded that when I concentrate on the present, I appreciate the sights, sounds, and smells of life. I think everyone should give it a try.

As Coelho writes, “life is the moment we’re living now.”

 

Quotes & Quips: Dorothy’s Magic Words

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“There’s no place like home.”

~Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz

For over five decades, St. John Vianney Catholic Church has been the anchor to my boyhood neighborhood in east San Jose. During three days in May, the annual SJV Fiesta is the gathering place for those who live in the neighborhood and those who grew up there. As my friend Jason Rodriguez puts it, “Fiesta is an east side reunion.” Yesterday, I made my annual pilgrimage.

I’ve always known that people have notions about the east side, and I’m guessing they’re not so positive. I recently heard from a few people who lived in a “better part of town” clearly miffed that East Side Eddie Report.com was posted on Facebook. I could almost hear the disdain in one writer’s voice as he typed, “Why am I getting your east side report? You might as well be from Oakland.” In one sentence, he managed to look down on two communities he probably knows nothing about.

One quick walk around Fiesta demonstrates that writer’s foolish notion. For many of us, this neighborhood is home. Passing the carnival, food booths, and local entertainment stages, Fiesta visitors see generations of families enjoying each other on a beautiful spring day or evening.  Teens and pre-teens at the rides, little kids and their parents dancing to the music, and grandparents sitting at tables under the canopies sampling Portuguese linguisa, Philly cheese steaks, and strawberry shortcake.

I always run into old friends and their families. Three friends I saw this year reminded me of the talent the east side has to offer.  Two of them, Larry Gonzales and David Rosas, played basketball for me when I coached at James Lick High School. Those talented boys are now men serving as an officer in the United States Navy and a teacher/basketball coach at our alma mater. The third, Jason Rodriguez, grew up one block over from me. Today, he jets around the globe as an executive representing Hewlett Packard.

Like our parents, we east side kids grow up to be resilient men and women who work hard and raise good families. It’s fun to gather once a year at Fiesta to see old friends, share stories, and introduce new family additions. Over the years, I’ve been blessed to share stories about my own growing family and travelling across the country for work. Nevertheless, Dorothy had it right. My pilgrimage to Fiesta every year reminds me that, “there’s no place like home.”

Quotes & Quips: “Play Like a Champ”

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San Francisco Giants celebrate 2012 World Series championship (photo by http://www.uniontimes.com)

Here’s an inspiring thought to start the week sent by reader Mariano Peralta…

“Play like a champ!”

Have a great week everyone!

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Don’t miss this Wednesday’s installment of “Summer in the Waiting Room” – Chapter 3 “Redemption.”

About Summer in the Waiting Room

Summer in the Waiting Room: How Faith, Family, and Friends Saved My Life is the inspiring story of a boy who grew up in a working-class neighborhood, failed at college and lost hope, met and married the love of his life, returned and finished college, raised a family, and found some success in business and public office.  It’s also the story of a man who vowed never to fail again and worked tirelessly trying to redeem himself, only to find true redemption while in a state of complete helplessness in the ICU.

To read past excerpts from Summer in the Waiting Room, click on“Summer in the Waiting Room” tag to the right.

NEW FEATURE: Quotes & Quips

writing-center

Dear Readers,

Since September 2013, I’ve posted stories on different topics every Monday. On Wednesday mornings, I post excerpts of my manuscript of Summer in the Waiting Room: How Faith, Family, and Friends Saved my Life. I hope to publish Summer in the Waiting Room as a book, so I’ve decided to dedicate more time to finish the manuscript.

With that in mind, I will no longer write stories and essays for Monday posts. In their place, I will add a new feature to East Side Eddie Report.com beginning on April 21st.  The new feature, Quotes & Quips, will be a brief posting of inspiring, provocative, or amusing thoughts to start your work week. I would love to share your favorite lines, anecdotes, and sayings on Quotes & Quips, so please send them to me at eddie.m.garcia@comcast.net.

Keep reading every Wednesday morning for regular installments of Summer in the Waiting Room: How Faith, Family, and Friends Saved my Life. Chapter 3: “Redemption” starts this week.

I truly appreciate your support of East Side Eddie Report.com. I hope to keep you coming back for more.  Thanks for reading!!

Eddie

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About Summer in the Waiting Room

Summer in the Waiting Room: How Faith, Family, and Friends Saved My Life is the inspiring story of a boy who grew up in a working-class neighborhood, failed at college and lost hope, met and married the love of his life, returned and finished college, raised a family, and found some success in business and public office.  It’s also the story of a man who vowed never to fail again and worked tirelessly trying to redeem himself, only to find true redemption, while in a state of complete helplessness in the ICU.

To read past excerpts from Summer in the Waiting Room, click on“Summer in the Waiting Room” tag to the right.