Congressman Raul Grijalva talks to his daughter Marisa about his mother’s influence on his education.
Marisa Grijalva (MG): What are your memories of growing up in Nana and Tata’s house?
Raúl Grijalva (RG): I was the only boy–I mean, I’m a mama’s boy and I’m not ashamed of it–but school was always the friction point with my mother. She–
MG: But you liked school, didn’t you?
RG: I loved it, I was a schoolboy. But I didn’t like her to press me on it all the time.
MG: How did she feel about report cards?
RG: She didn’t speak English but she understood A–and only looked for A’s and B’s. Anything less than that would mean that you would be studying for the rest of your life. So you’d kind of strive to get one of those two. And, I remember getting an award–I think that it was seventh or eighth grade–I was one of four students in the whole class who was getting an award. And they said, make sure you invite your parents. And I didn’t tell my mom. I felt embarrassed of her because she couldn’t speak English and all the other parents could. Pasaron como tres meses, I mean, it’d been three months, this award ceremony’s over, and then I remember my mom telling me, Como te fue el premio? And I went, Woah, she knew. But, that’s all she said. Then a couple of days later, I’m getting ready in front of the mirror and she goes, Mira mijito, no te olvides que nacistes con un nopal en la frente–Don’t forget, you were born with a nopal on your forehead and that’s you and you should never be embarrassed about it. That changed me a lot. I started to become more conscious of how people treated people, I started to become more conscious of a lot of political issues and so even in that sense you know, your parents have an influence on you in an interesting way.