Pete believed he had some good qualities. He did not go towards trouble or got involved with people who treated others badly. His friends were for the most part the same way, although some he liked drink too much or do some drugs. Not his style. He wondered why he did not go that way as others would, and in college he sure had his chances to indulge in taking a different path.
Jesse and Hector along with Gary in South Central and East LA sure lived in a different culture than did Pete. Going along with the crowd was a natural pull for any teenager or young adult, but they too did not cave in to the pressures from their peers to try some dope or get high either.
Why? They were very lucky to have a family where their folks, their parents, were together and showed they cared for each other. That love and caring took the form of the good example that a couple could stay together in love.
But there had to be more to it, right. Yes, there was and still is. Their parents showed their kids that their lives had some setbacks and heartaches, but through all of that, they continued on. They made a commitment to each other and also knew that it was through the added commitment to work hard and honestly each and every day would get them to achieve their dreams. Not rich so much maybe, but knowing they had kept their word to each other was the glue which showed their children the road to real happiness. They were rich, very rich.
But, another thing they knew. To never give up, regardless of the obstacles. As a Black man, John Moore told Jesse stories of how he was treated in the Navy and in the civilian world. He was called nigger more than once. Geraldo told Hector he had been called a Beaner on more than one occasion. Both fathers would just look, laugh inside and turn away, move on, knowing that they would be the better man for ignoring such ignorance. They did not succumb to the easy way. They persisted and persevered through the dark shadow of hate and knew that those who did hate were the ones who would come up short. Gary and his Latino friends, as did Hector had to understand that the hard work of their parents showed everyone the better path.
Persistence, and Perseverance through the obstacles tossed your way became their way as well, because their real heroes were in fact living in their homes….their parents.
Pete sure saw his parents argue and the stress of those moments got to Pete, more than once. But, his folks stayed together through it all, persisted and persevered through the tough times.
These traits of good character and knowing how to say no to the pull of going down a path of the quick fix or the quick good time was something they would not understand until later in their lives.
Good character can be hidden from our view amongst the turmoil of a heated decision or argument, but it will sustain you.
Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest.Mark Twain