Today my father-in-law reminded me that 30 years ago I told him that I did not want our two daughters to learn Spanish. They were educated to master the English language and they did.

Growing up, I lived the struggles of being poked fun at for having an accent and not being fluent in the English language. Our language is so important to succeed in America.

Why did I get that reminder? The reason for the discussion was that today our grown daughters are trying to master the Spanish language. That should have happened while they were maturing adolescents, but I did not know any better. My experience was limited because of my own youthful exuberance.

Truthfully, I did not want my daughters to go through the discrimination, the bias and the uncertainties that go with being deficient in the English language. I thought it would be complicated enough for my daughters to have to face the prejudices of growing up as a minority. I did not want to add the language barrier.

However, my strategic approach was flawed. I did not realize that my children were capable of learning both languages simultaneously. Europeans have always processed the learning of multiple languages as a custom. I was clearly not thinking European and failed to focus on the benefits of learning several languages. Unfortunately my focal point was on the language related negative things that I had experienced while growing up.

My response was defensive at first, until I realized my decision was based on personal experience. I made a judgment call that would affect our children's future.

In retrospect, I should have worked diligently for our children to learn and master both languages. Clearly it would have been an advantageous decision.

If only we had "do-over opportunities" in our reality. We do have second chances. Being alive and writing this column was my second chance that might help someone else to learn from my experience. Second chance comes in different forms and shapes of opportunities. The key is to be ready for that opportunity.

What a great conversation that was with great-grandpa as I lovingly address my father-in-law. He has achieved so much in his life that I put him in my list of heroes with my sisters. It is not that my criteria for being a hero is lenient.

It is that we do not look closely enough at the people who are around us on a daily basis. If we did, we would conclude and realize that they are really the greatest heroes of all.

It is funny now; 30 years ago my father-in-law was just grandpa, which is a grand state of mind. Today, that same gentleman is great-grandpa and I am now grandpa. I guess we can all get to the next level of greatness in life after all.

The proven lesson here is that we can all progress, learn and improve our stations in life.

It is usually facilitated when surrounded by loving family members and having strong faith or confidence.

Joe-Santos Medina is a resident of Robstown. Readers may contact him via email at