I think we all have the same question, why am I here? What destiny awaits us? What is my purpose in life?
The problem for me is that I never thought that way. Living in the barrio and surviving was my purpose. Everybody that I knew had some instinct to live as best as we could. We were laborers, servants, or other ways to make a living.
If I was to think about it, I would go back in time where I had to make some decisions as to where I could make more money. I started young as a newspaper boy selling newspapers for five cents and keeping two cents. Every day I would hustle to bring in at least a dollar worth of pennies. I was just 7 years old when I started to deliver newspaper. However, I was too skinny, and the papers outweigh me and the bicycle and by the end of the week my dad told me to quit that job.
I didn’t know how important an education was worth because nobody ever told me. We just went because if you didn’t, the truant officer will come after you and send you to reform school. “Southon”? I heard about it, and I surely didn’t want to go there. So, that’s one decision I made. To finish school and get a job.
It didn’t work out that way. While in school I took printing class and after graduation I was given a referral to a printing company. They hired me in the morning and fired me by noon time. I guess that I wasn’t cut out to be a printer anyway. So, I joined the US Army.
One of the reasons I joined the army was because I couldn’t find a decent job. My ideal job was to be a milk delivery man. They were full.
From this point on, decisions were made for me. I led a disciplined and structured life. When to get up, when to eat and when to work. However, fate intervened. A recruiter told me that if I stayed in the army and retired after twenty years, I would get a monthly pension depending on what rank I had at the time. I decided to stay in, and I thought I had to survive twenty years to collect. That was my sole purpose.
Come twenty years or more I was out at age 37. I was married with children. I wanted to continue working as a military man in uniform. So, I tried interviewing for a high school ROTC job. That didn’t work out. I went to college instead to get a degree in social work. Meanwhile I volunteered as a boy scout leader. After I graduated, I became a Boy Scout executive, this was an unexpected opportunity and I took it. However, it was mostly administrative and no where close to my major degree of social work. My sole purpose now is to get a social worker position.
Ella Austin was a community center which worked with children and families. I volunteered there to get some real experience as a social worker. Later they hired me, and I worked there for a few years dealing with children and counseling families at their homes. I figure that this what I should be doing for the rest of my life.
I had heard that the San Antonio Independent School district was planning to use social workers in the school system, and I quickly resigned from Ella Ausstin and took on substitute teaching and later as a teacher’s aide to get in the ground floor when they started hiring social workers. By that time, I had learned the protocols, environment and the schools associated with each other and one other qualifier, I spoke Spanish. I was hired immediately.
This was to be my last position in life, and I spent almost twenty years in it. So, I would guess that graduating from high school and joining the military was the first purpose in life and after retiring getting a degree in social work place me in position to work with families was another purpose in life.
After retiring from the workforce, what then? I decided to work as a volunteer with the American Red Cross. I had another purpose. To help families in distress due to fires, floods, or tornadoes. I was able to find shelters for those unfortunates. After twenty years, I retired as a volunteer.
What’s my purpose now? I am the financial secretary for my Knights of Columbus council in my church. I am an officer in my Knights of Columbus Assembly. I am a lector in my church, and I belong to the Guadalupanas Society. Besides writing, that should keep me busy for a while.
One thought on “Purpose in Life”
What a life of service!
I’m so proud of you dad for what you have accomplished and the legacy you have left for us and for the next generation. I wish kids today would have the same outlook and seek a purpose in life, but unfortunately society has changed. Now, many people seem to expect a handout from the government or their employer.