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Professor Manuel Hernández
Essays Collection

Email: josejosue24@gmail.com
Address: : 2012 Ernest St. Kissimmee, Florida 34741

Manuel Hernandez was born in Sleepy Hollow, New York in 1963. He completed undergraduate studies at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus and finished a Master�s in Education from Herbert H. Lehman College (CUNY) in the Bronx in 1994. He has coordinated symposiums, produced and coordinated television interviews on the literature written by Puerto Rican and Latino/a writers from the Diaspora. He has done numerous presentations, workshops and seminars on how to integrate latino/a literature in the English classroom. In 2014, he participated in a TedxTalk (Connections) at Southern New Hampshire University. He is the author of three books, , Latino/a Literature in the English Classroom (Editorial Plaza Mayor, 2003), The Birth of a Rican (Imprenta Sifre. 2008) and Living the Kingdom with purpose (Imprenta Sifre, 2013). He is a Language Arts teacher at Osceola School District in Florida.
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Friendship (Food for thought) 2
By Manuel Hernandez-Carmona copyright
mannyh32@puertoricans.com

Every year on February 14th, we are all congratulating each other about the day in hand. It is called it Saint Valentine's, other call it The Day of Friendship or in español, "El Dia de la Amistad". The truth is that everybody has their own definition regarding friendship. Jonathan and David were friends, no doubt. Joshua served Moses for a generation, but were they really friends? How about someone that says I love you or I appreciate you, but that so-called appreciation is stated in words not in actions. What's an action? It means to move and show what you mean; it's as simple as that. Did Jesus have any friends? I mean when he walked the earth, especially the last three and a half years. What happened to all of them when he was arrested?

What is the least I expect from a friend? A phone call...??? A hug, a personal visit, a forwarded spiritual message. I don't know..today, it's all expressed in e-mails. I don't want to give my opinion, but I remember the conversations that I have always had with my wife and son (s)..."honey, I am your best friend, and son, you can always count on me, no matter what." Manny..stop..a friendship is not like that. Well, what's your opinion? I don't know...at 45 years of age, I am still exploring the definition of friendship. There are people that prefer to shake hands with each other and that defines them as a spiritual brother/sister. PLEAASSE!

OK, OK, friends do go their separate ways and disconnect, but they should find some way to communicate with each other. In my favorite song, "Honesty" by Billy Joel, he says that "honesty is such a lonely word" and so is friendship. For a decade, I tried to befriend this guy, and I literally got tired of inviting him out to lunch/dinner. He never had the time. In the meantime, he befriended and accepted hundreds, maybe thousands of invitations. What can I say?! Too many years trying to reach out....one thing is for sure...friendship is mutual and goes beyond...what can you do for me? Other people think that trying to befriend others means that you have some kind of "rejection" syndrome in you. Come on, how can we pretend to be friends in heaven, if we can't even say hello here on earth.? I don't know!!! Explain that one to me.

One of my childhood friends comes to Puerto Rico on vacation, calls me and says," Junior, I wanna see you." I respond, "come on over." But he never comes by..yet in two more years, he'll do the same thing. Others will say.."I miss you so much." You know what I miss, "innocence"..experience encourages us to hide, use masks and say things that we don't necessarily mean.

Anyway, let's get back to David and Jonathan. One was the heir of the throne, the other the annointed one, yet they decided to love each other in-spite of what that meant. They loved each other so much that they were willing to die for each other. That's friendship! Hey, I am looking for a "friend", but like BJ adds in his song, "it's hardly ever heard, but mostly what I need from you."


Friendship
by Cynthia Padin


What does friendship mean to me? It means many things, first things that comes to my mind is loyalty, trust, love, these are the most important things in a friendship and often they are the most difficult to find. It means being able to share important events and knowing that the relationship you have with that person is special. Friends share a strong emotional bond that can last a lifetime. I don't consider my husband or my children friends. I wouldn't want to them to consider me a friend either. Why? I'm not sure maybe I just want to keep the relationship with my husband with a certain mystery that friends don't share, and I want my children to see me more as an authority figure. As they grow older the relationship may change. One thing is for sure as a family we share intimacy and we know we can always count on each other. I think friends see each other (unlike husbands and children) like individuals first and they must see each other as equals or peers so that the relationship can truly flourish and last.

What do I expect from a friend? I expect many things. A friend should be someone we can talk to when we need reassurance, when we need advice or just when we need someone to listen to us. A friend should be able to grieve with me and also feel happiness when something good happens to me. I do not in any way confuse friends with acquaintances, which are to me just people we have something in common with. Friends are much more than that. I can tell a true friend my thoughts without the fear of being judged or tell them my secrets without fear of them being told. If for some reason I cant see or speak with my friend for a while because we just don't have the available time to do so, it might make me sad but it doesn't make me feel like our friendship is lost. Can the relationship survive distance and time away? Absolutely, days, weeks or even months can go by and we'll just start where we left off.

Seems like the older we get the fewer (true) friends we have. We become more selective when identifying friends and we realize, sometimes after many years that some of the people we considered our friends are not truly friends but simply acquaintances. What happens when we are deeply hurt by a friend? In my opinion........ I just realize they were not my "True Friends" Is it naive to think this way? might be, but I have a few friends and I've never been deeply hurt by them. Can a man and a woman become true friends? In my opinion absolutely, I think it is not only possible but more frequent than we choose to believe. Some argue that it's not possible if there is a physical attraction between them. I disagree, I think they might flirt, joke and tease but ultimately the fear of damaging the true friendship will not allow them to cross the line.

I see friendship as an investment so I make sure I nurture the relationship, I treat my friends with respect and courtesy, and I try to always be available for them when it counts the most. This to me is the best way to make sure I'll keep my good friends close to my heart.

Cynthia Padin is an English teacher and freelance writer.