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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dispelling The Myth of The Absent Latino Father Through Spoken Word: La Lancha

I have many blessings in my life, but the most invigorating and beautiful is being father to 3 beautiful children. When most of our fathers, or father role models were growing up, they were taught the role of the provider all swirled up with a big serving of machismo.

I like to think that my father does not have all those qualities, perhaps most, but not all.

My Father lets his actions speak. He taught me about work ethic, about being thankful for what I have, to be humble, and to put family ahead of anything. These are all great things to learn, but in exchange he lacked the power to show and give affection.

This does not mean, que no me queria, I know he does.

But in actuality i have never head him say it. We have awkward moments, when we hug, we don't embrace, we just pat each other's back. We have a silent language. But whenever I have needed help, he has been the first one there.

He may not wear his emotions on his sleeves, but I know they are sown into the seams.

See as a father, I try to be all the things my dad is and be the things he wasn't. I am a passionate father, supportive, loving, proud and stern when I need to.  I choose to be this way, to function this way, to deny and reshape the role of what I believe is an obsolete Latino father role model.

Many of these norms have been perpetuated through media, tv shows, comedy skits. But these have been at the expense of our relationships with our children.

I believe my father like many out there wants to be affectionate, wants to praise his children, be involved. But unfortunately, he grew up in a time where none of those things were considered to be part of the role of a Latino father. 

I personally have struggle with this dilemma, not because of my selfishness to be shown affection but because I feel my father, and many fathers out there, have been robbed of that wonderful feeling that affection can bring.

Therefore, I have decided to be vocal about my fatherhood experiences with my 3 children, my struggles, my joys, memories and convey them through the art form of Spoken Word. So far I've been able to produce 3 poems that share a glimpse of the wonderful journey of Fatherhood. These poems are IsabellaLadybug and La Lancha

I've been fortunate to be able to record these and release them, but I still feel the need to do more and be more vocal.

My encounters with other fathers that share the same beliefs via life and social media have reinforced my passion for continuing telling my experiences.

My goal by telling my own stories about fatherhood, is to start creating discussions between Latino fathers about their experiences. I want others to share similar wonderful experiences that fatherhood has brought to me and by doing so start dispelling these imposed stereotypes.

I begin this discussion by talking about a poem based on a lullaby thats very dear to me, La Lancha .

La Lancha is a poem about my daughter Isabella and when she was really sick I sang her that lullaby to make her feel better, just like my mother had done with me. It's about a father’s relationship with his daughter in a time of sickness and how the lullaby helped both of us get through it.

This poem is important to me because of its intergenerational impact. The lullaby being sung in this poem was introduced to my mother by my grandmother and now I sing it to my children. La Lancha is originally a Tango song created in 1928 by Francisco Bartardi and it has been interpreted by many Latin American music groups.

My mother sung me one verse from it,
"Se va, Se va, La Lancha. Se va con el pescador. En esa Lancha que cruza el mar, se va, se va mi amor!".
I've sung this to my eldest, Isabella when she needed comforting and it became part of her bedtime routine. She has heard this verse so many times, that she has memorized it and now sings it to his sister and brother. I felt it was important to have Isabella be a part of this poem in order to show the intergenerational  impact of this lullaby and when she agreed to sing it, I knew it was the right thing to do.

Today Isabella turns 9 years old. She is a caring and wonderful young lady and I am blessed not only to call her my friend, but to have the honor of being her father.

Without much ado, I present to you La Lancha.


For your convenience, La Lancha is available for download below:


BellaVida Letty said...

Very beautiful R. So lovely to read and listen. Am so glad to read this perspective of fatherhood.

Neither of my parents or grandparents were affectionate to me growing up but ever since becoming an adult our relationships changed. They have changed and feel more comfortable expressing themselves like the never did before. It gives me confidence change is possible.

Gary said...

Vaya Rodrigo such beautiful words to express! Thanks for putting these thoughts out there. I do believe that a new generation of parents are ever growing vastly, especially now with the psychological knowledge that has been spread along with stories such as this one you are sharing. God bless you and your familia.