Friday, October 22, 2010

What is with this Bendicion thing?

You meet someone, fall in love, get married, and have children. Now two people raised in different households have to somehow merge values and traditions into their new family. So what stays and what goes? My husband and I agree easily on the "tough love" approach both of us were raised with: not in our household. My father is Puerto Rican and, thus, very "old school". There are A LOT of family values and ignorance that will not be passed down to our girls.

We talk about most things and have compromised, but there is one thing that gets under my skin and bothers me. Some Hispanic families have this tradition where children are taught to say bendicion to their elders. My husband was raised with it and still does it. I was not and don't care for it. Yet another way to keep children "in-check". He has told me about times when he didn't say bedicion and was ignored. Just 10 mins. ago he was scolded for not saying bendicion to a family member. It's ridiculous, he's a grown man! The meaning of bendicion has been diluted to a tradition that no one can explain. My husband and his family want the girls to say it, and I surely don't.

Why am I against it? I've seen a little girl look like she was about to go into the time-out corner because she forgot to say bendicion and was scolded for it. She doesn't understand what it means. She knows that she is loved and needs to listen to her elders, why can't she say "Hi, I love you!" I will be so upset if someone ignored or scolded my girls because they didn't say bendicion even though they already greeted them with loving delight.

How did we resolve this issue? In my opinion bendicion has biblical ties that have been lost. In those days parents would give lengthy and heartfelt blessings to their children, not just a response "Dios te bendiga". Blessings are prophetic and spoken in faith and with wisdom. Blessings open up the doors of Heaven to Divine favor in one's life. Why would you take all that away from my girls, or any child with just a quick, automated response. After lots of talks with my husband and members of his family (and lots of opposition from me) my husband came up with a good idea. We will teach our girls to say bendicion, but then they will ask for the adult they are talking with to pray for them instead of an automated response. Our girls will be raised in a Christian home and will understand the meaning of prayers and asking for a blessing. We're putting the meaning back into bendicion. We're starting a new tradition. Hopefully we'll lead a few hearts to the Lord as well.

13 comments:

  1. I love it! Not just embracing tradition but igniting love & taking bendicion back to its roots. Great compromise!

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  2. Thanks! That's what I wanted to do!

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  3. Thank you for learning about saying "Bendicion" I am a firm believer. This is a time of prayer. Prayers don't have to be long but just heart felt.
    To share when the response of Dios te Bendiga was said, hugs and kisses were given.

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  4. I've never seen any children get scolded for not saying it but have been scolded for refusing to say it when I was young. It is a form of respect for your elders and should be embraced. My family elders will always say hello and goodbye with with Dios te Bendiga regardless if you ask them for blessings or not to anyone younger.

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  5. My spouse and I had this same type of discussion in our household. One of us comes from a different cultural background and saying Bendicion was a learned behavior and out of respect, it is said to all the elders in the family. The other has been brought up saying Bendicion to all elders (sometimes regardless of familial ties, just because of coming from PR decent). We have decided that we will teach our children to say it. Because of it being a learned behavior for one spouse, it is not always reminded of our children by one spouse and the other gets la Bendicion from our children all the time. We are working on teaching our children to say it to both of us all the time. It is important to one spouse to keep the tradition, so that makes it important to the other.

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  6. It's called respect to your elders and it's a way of saying hi and acknowledging that they are there.

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    1. I agree w anonymous..thats how i was raised.

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  7. Charisma had the right idea but arrived at the right conclusion in the wrong way. There is no need to be so combative and antagonistic. The history of Latinos and or Hispanics in this country (however you choose to identify) is very complicated and more often than not misunderstood. Passing down tradition is honorable and virtuous particularly when rooted in respect for god and our elders. We would be better served if we spoke in the language of solution and not in the language of problem. Question dios los bendiga ha goods.

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  8. Its a beautiful tradition. No need to be so 'preachy', just embrace it.

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  9. Its a beautiful tradition. No need to be so 'preachy', just embrace it.

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  10. In a world where praise and good words are often barley heard this tradition not just asks for a blessing prayer from respected elder family members, it is also sealed with a kiss on the cheek. The kiss of peace. It teaches the young to ask for spiritual things not just material goods and it ritualistically makes strong the bonds of familial responsibilities, from the elders to the young ones. In my family as young our elders would not only bless us with a prayer asking God to keep us safe but would then give us coins to buy candy or other sweets, making it always a pleasure to say bendicion. As a child it never felt like an obligation to me. It was instead an opportunity for hugs and kisses reminding me that I was loved by an extended family, all whom i could turn to or expect help and protection from.

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  11. I remember my first partner, raised in Puerto Rico, would always end telephone conversations with his family with the phrase, bendicion. It would be followed by a brief pause and then he would say good bye and hang up the phone. I asked him about it. "What's with the phrase you say before you say goodbye?" His answer was that it was tradition before ending a conversation with loved family member who was of the older generation to ask for their blessing. That the word "bendicion" was a request for a blessing. I don't know if there was a tradition response for the request returned by the elder because I only heard the one side of the conversation. But, I did find the tradition to be rather beautiful. Because even when the conversation might have been heated or argumentative, it always ended up with the peace of a request for a blessing and the request being granted. Something wonderful in that.

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  12. Actually, it was a Abrahamic custom past down through generations. During the expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem, many fled to Spain. As they were forced to migrate over the centuries, Many Puerto Rican Families kept the habit even though they forgot the whole purpose of Bendicion Abuelo y Abuela and they responded Dios te bendiga. No its not a Christian thing. It was the Spanish crypto Jews that kept the tradition albeit many converted permanently but the purpose forgotten so it became a standard term of endearment greeting of the elders. Because to be blessed by an elder was a privilege.

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