Abe Observes

abe villarrealAbe Villarreal is the Assistant Dean of Student Support and Civic Engagement at Western New Mexico University. When not on campus, he enjoys writing about his observations on marketing, life, people and American traditions.

By Abe Villarreal

We hate to admit we don’t know things. Not just important things but small things. When someone asks us if we’ve heard of a particular artist, we say, “I think so.”

Even a simple question like that makes us nervous. What are we afraid to admit? Knowledge is power, and apparently, lack of it is weakness.

By Abe Villarreal

I’ve never been much of a talker. I prefer to let my thoughts flow out on paper, in stories. Words on paper, in notebooks or online. We all have our preferred ways to communicate.

Think of the Aunt Sally in our families. Most of us have one. She’s the kind that will go on and on. To her, it's all in love and in your best interest, but it’s also never-ending. She asks you about your day, and before you get a chance to answer, she starts sharing about hers.

By Abe Villarreal

Every now and then something big happens in life that causes us to mention how humbled we suddenly are because of the experience.

It only happens every now and then. When we mention our newfound humility, it is usually in a moment of disbelief. We are so very used to making everything about ourselves.

When someone asks us for a favor, we immediately start to measure what we might gain from lending our precious time and talent to others. We ask “what’s in it for me?” From beginning to end, life is about you, others come second.

By Abe Villarreal

I posted a video on my Facebook account last week of pre-school aged kids telling me when they believed Baby Jesus was born.

One kid said “Ummm…. Friday?” Another thought Jesus was born on the Fourth of July. I was captivated by their innocence.

We were in Sunday School class where the toughest theology lesson is learning how many of each animal made it into Noah’s Ark. We read a short Bible story, go outside and play, and sometimes get creative with glue and construction paper.

By Abe Villarreal

At the end of a month-long training period for students at my local university, a simple closing ceremony activity opened my eyes to how much I am grateful for in life.

A dozen college students had gathered daily for several hours to train on leadership as they prepared to introduce new students to university life. Most of the trainees only knew each other as acquaintances and were nervous on day one.

They eyed each other up and down and tried to figure out if they would like each other or at least tolerate one another during the summer month. Meeting new people is scary and being rejected can be devastating.

By Abe Villarreal

Mr. Rogers, the late plainspoken TV personality, has experienced a surge in popularity lately. Why?

The U.S. Postal Service released a forever stamp featuring his familiar smile, recognizable red sweater, and crown-wearing King Friday. The stamp was issued 15 years after his death.

By Abe Villarreal

At the end of the movie classic “The Wizard of Oz,” little Dorothy Gale has an a-ha moment. She realizes that what she longs for the most was not found in a far away, Emerald City, but right in her own backyard.

Her journey took her through a winding yellow brick road and a frightening forest filled with flying monkeys. She met some interesting characters that felt a lot like the people back on the farm.

She couldn’t see what she was looking for because her eyes were focused on a magical world where life was filled with artificial happiness and perfection.

By Abe Villarreal

I buy a copy of the newspaper every day, and one of the sections that I never miss to read is the obituary page.

I’ve read some of the most beautiful testaments and tributes of character in these death notices. Most of them are routine. A picture of a smiling older man or woman followed by the birth and death dates, names of those that preceded in death, and a few tidbits of personality.

Sometimes the picture is one of those beautiful, vintage black and white portraits. A young lady on her wedding day with those typically 1940’s curls and a smile straight out of Look Magazine. Another favorite is the happy soldier headshot. A young, brave G.I. ready to go out and give his contribution to the war effort.

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