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Transcript: Lydia Franco - My Mom: The ONE Word Every Parent Should Remove

Season 1, Episode 1 Lydia Franco 08.22.18

 

Destination YOUniversity:Lydia Franco, My Mom: The One Word Every Parent Should Remove

 

[Introduction]: 

There is no guarantee for success, but there are ways to get closer to it. When you do the right things, who you surround yourself with is just as important as what you do. Finding the right people, the right classes, the right activities, and taking the right tests are all decisions that shape your future. Find out more today on Destination YOUniversity with Dr. Cynthia Colon. Dr. Colon and her guests will give you the tips you need whether you're a student, parent, or educator. Now here is your host, Dr. Cynthia Colon. 

Dr. Colon: 

Remember the days when kids rode bikes and skateboards in these neighborhood streets. I can still hear the voices of parents shouting time for dinner, meeting to play video games meant actually playing with a friend sitting right next to you. We cheered each other on as we conquered each new level of Pacman and Mario brothers. Athletic exercise meant swimming in your backyard pool or playing three sports in high school. My Nina Saki would whisper in my ear reminding me to only have one soda per day while watching Cousin’s Horta and Eddie play soccer. Today's lesson is familiar and simple. Be a good listener. But here's my question. Whose voice are we listening to? The recordings we play in our head will help us or haunt us. Today we learn from two tales, where in one childhood, those very voices helped fuel confidence, while in the other tale she was haunted by the voices and ultimately regretted what could have been. 

I'm Cynthia Colon author of the book Tips, Tales & Truths for Teens. Welcome to Destination Youniversity where we explore extraordinary people who lived ordinary childhoods and found a pathway to college for themselves, for others or went back to college years later. If you are a student, a parent of a student, you teach students or are students of life, this show is for you. Oh wow. Welcome Mom. 

Meet Lydia Franco

Lydia Franco:

Thank you, Cyn. I'm so happy to be here. 

Dr. Colon:

Oh wow. I can't believe we're here live on national radio and thank you for being my guest. We are broadcasting live from Culver City high school today where I'll be addressing 500 seniors in just about 90 minutes. And the principal here, Dr. Lisa Cooper, who you'll meet soon, Mom, she's amazing and she's quite a visionary and she has invited me here to talk to her seniors and she wants to leverage, give them every leverage possible in the college admission process. So, she has given them, they don't know yet, but she's given them the gift of my book. So, 500 books, you and I will be distributing just a little bit later today. Isn't that exciting? 

Lydia Franco:

Wow. That's a pleasant surprise. They'll all have. 

Dr Colon:

That's right. So, I say it loud and thank you Dr. Lisa Cooper for having us here live on your campus and I look forward to meeting your students in just a bit. So, mom, why don't we get started? Oh, my goodness. So, I've got here my posse in the room. I've got mom and sister Jess and sister Stephanie. They're here just for moral support. And mom, you grew up in Compton, California, and you raised three daughters in Bellflower, California. So, for those who are listening across the country let's just help them understand where Bellflower is. So, Bellflower is seven miles from Compton where you grew up. So not very far at all. Really. Not far at all. 

Lydia Franco:

Not at all. 

Dr. Colon:

Yeah. You went to Dominguez high school. I went to Bellflower high school. And if you're looking at a map, Bellflower situates itself 15 miles south of LA and 15 miles North of Long Beach. And it's nestled in this like nice group of five cities, Norwalk, Seritos, Lakewood and Downey. 

Lydia Franco:

Yes. 

Dr. Colon:

And I think of everything as colleges. So, I think of it as like the Claremont College is sort of these five great cities. So, thanks for choosing a great city to raise three wonderful and beautiful might add sisters, especially looking beautiful today, ladies. So, what I want to talk about is really what it's like to grow up listening to things around you. And so, we're going to get to your story, but I find it'd be good idea to have the listeners learn a little bit about your firstborn. That's me from the oldest. I'm the oldest and the smallest, but let's talk about what it was like. So, you and dad bought a piece of property about 1979, in Bellflower and then built the house. Actually, I think dad was like literally hammering some of those nails, right? 

Lydia Franco:

Yes. 

Dr. Colon:

So, we waited for that house to be built and I started third grade at Washington elementary school, which was right around the corner. And I think that's street, Mom is Romona, is that Romona right around the corner? 

Lydia Franco:

Ryan.

Dr. Colon:

Ryan, it starts with a R. I knew I had Ryan. It's Ryan Street. So, the walk to school was just about not even 10 minutes and I used to walk up Stevens and cut-over an empty lot, but it's now a track of homes now. I mean, it's built up everywhere. And I was graduating from sixth grade; it was also 1984 the year of the Olympics. And listeners are going to learn that I'm a real sports fan. And so, I watched Mary Lou Retton win the gold medal that year. So, I was glued to the TV watching the Olympics. Do you remember I loved the Olympics? I still do, I still love all kinds of sports. And I don't know where I got that from because it's not from you or from bad because dad's a musician. 

Lydia Franco:

But you liked the Olympics and I remember you watching the, what's her name? 

Dr. Colon:

Mary Lou Retton. I wanted to be her really. But that was really not in the cards for me. So anyway, after sixth grade, I went off to high school, which is odd. I didn't think it was out at the time, but in Bellflower you went to high school in seventh grade. Not in ninth grade. You went to high school in seventh grade for six full years. And so, what I remember of my first weeks of school, I remember three things. I remember overhearing people talk about joining clubs and getting involved and doing sports and all that stuff. And then I remember Sonia. Sonia was in my Spanish two classes. She was a senior and I was a seventh grader. So, I was really excited that she befriended me. But you know what she did? She convinced me to ditch class. And I don't know if I ever told you this, I ditched class with Sonia, and I listened to her voice.

Dr. Colon:

I was mortified because I was a wallflower, I still am, and I ran home to delete the message on the, back then we had like a voicemail message and the school had called, I'm sure and left a message that I was like ditching class. I don't know what they said, but I went home, and I deleted the message. So, you never heard it and now I'm confessing. Its true confessions. So that was the second thing I remember. And then the third thing I remember, this really stands out for me, and this will make a lot of sense to you mom. I remember this woman; well she seemed like a woman, she's a girl. She was a senior in high school, and she was the commissioner of assemblies and rallies and her name was Christina. 

And I listened to every word she said. She wore her peekaboo pleat skirt. She was a cheerleader. She was leading the assembly. She was leading the rallies and I wanted to be her. She led, she inspired. I was hooked and addicted to this high school thing. I love high school. I loved those pompoms. And I knew then that I wanted to be a leader, a motivator, and a cheerleader to everyone. So later that month, Kristen and I, my BFF. Do you remember Kristen, mom?

Lydia Franco:

I do remember Kristen; I'll never forget Kristin now. 

Dr. Colon:

Kristen and I reached it out for the cheer squad and she and I were two of three seventh graders that made the cheer team and I loved Kristen because she was really smart. She's still is, she's very smart. She read voraciously, she read everything. She was a book reader. So, I was listening to her and I admired her, I still do because she was such a reader and that's where I got it from. And then I was a cheerleader for four years and I'll never forget when Mr. Modlin, who was my algebra two teacher, came in with a cheer from the newspaper, like a cheer that he cut out and he talked about it and then he asked me to come and lead the class in this cheer. And of course, most teenagers would be mortified but I was like, yeah, I was like, Christina, channelling my inner Christina, I'm going to lead this cheer. So, I got up right up to the front of the class and I said D to the X, E to the X coastline, C contention sign 3.1414, I still remember this cheer. It's like in my brain. So, I've been cheerleader basically my whole life. And I've been a cheerleader because you were, you were a cheerleader, you were on drill team. 

So, here's the thing, and maybe because of you, this sort of bled onto me, but the end of my sophomore year I made two decisions. One, I was going to run for ASB commissioner with some of those rallies, just like Christina. And two, do you remember I tried out for drill team and it was like quite the scandal; go on to varsity cheerleading or song leading or try out for drill team with the band. And my book chapter number 21 tells the story really well, but my mom was on drill team, my dad was in band, so maybe it was meant to be, but that's what I was going to do. But I made this decision and I listened to my gut and here's what happened and then we're going to get to your story because I tried out for drill team, I don't know if you remember this, that very year VHS was invited to USC to perform at halftime with the band and the cheerleaders. 

I mean not only be at VHS, not only Bellflower high school, it was a ton of high schools, but had I not tried out for drill team that year, I would have never gone to USC to perform. And so basically, I was hooked. I wanted nothing more than to become a Trojan and go to USC. And that's when my mindset was like, that's where I'm going. So, I'm going to take a pause here because really what happened the next two years and how I got to USC was really because of my mom, my superhero, my mom. So, mom, we're going to pause from my story, and you tell us, what was it like growing up in Compton? What was it like to be a kid? What was your childhood like? 

Lydia’s background

Lydia Franco:

Wow, that takes me way back then, way, way back. I came here as an immigrant from Mexico, not knowing English obviously, my parents wanted better for us, so they brought us here. My mom and dad were very hard workers. My dad worked at a meat packing house and on the weekends we would go to the corner, I'll never forget, San Pedro in Rosecrans and we would take our charcoal up in Mexican  and we would sell these thing, piggy bank set up as what I just, you name it. My mom and dad always had an idea of how to make an extra buck. And if you came and you made a sale, you got 50 cents. My mom was the best salesperson ever. And so, I think I took after her because I get 50 cents. 

Dr. Colon:

I think I took after you then. But yeah.

Lydia Franco:

So, it was not easy growing up and not knowing the language. Going to elementary school, I remember just sitting in the back of the classroom, they didn't have bilingual classes like they have today and all you did all day was color, color, color, color. We go to recess and we go to lunch and that's when I started really noticing differences. In my home we wanted for nothing. We had everything we needed, maybe not what we wanted, but then going to school, I realized that there were differences, not just in the language, but the way we looked. When I'd go to school the Anglo kids had a lunch pail with Mickey Mouse on it and what I later learned to be a thermos, well, we would go to school and they would have bologna and cheese sandwiches and things I never heard of. And here I go, this little Mexican girl going to school and my lunch bag was usually whatever my mom could find, whether it was a Wonder bread bag or an empty package with an egg and everybody stared at you. I didn't know what they were looking at. But the older I got, the more I realized there was lots of differences, not just in the way we look, but the way we live, the way we ate. And that's when I started opening my eyes to a possibility of something different.

I remember going to school my parents would make us wear our clothing two times, two days in a row before we got to change into a new one. And I had this girlfriend that I always admired because she came to school dressed up to the T all the time and every day, she had a new outfit on. And I never forget to this day, I still remember her in her beautiful little red shoes, and I thought, I want to grow up one day and have matching shoes and matching hat. 

Dr. Colon:

Which you did. 

Lydia Franco:

And so yes, but everything was different. Everything was different.

Dr. Colon:

You had those red shoes and I think you grew up, I think you have red coat, you've got red scarf, a red hat, you've got red shoes, you've got everything, that's your power color, Mom. And I think we're both wearing a variety of red today, channelling that power. I love it. I love it. 

Lydia Franco:

So, we grew up always with chores. There were 12 of us, 12 siblings. So needless to say, that as soon as you could stand up, you were changing somebody's diaper. So, it was always chores. It was always things to do after school, whether it was laundry, making dinner or basically taking care of your younger siblings. 

Dr. Colon:

Right, you were always doing something, and you probably wanted to escape all of that, right? You wanted out; you wanted to figure out how to get out of that. 

Lydia Franco:

When you're a kid, you don't know any different, that's your life and that's your life. But then you start growing up and you see other people have different lifestyles. Even their home was different. At my house, we had two bedrooms for 12 kids. Two bedrooms for 12 kids. At the time the house seemed humongous for more what we had, but can you imagine 12 children and two bedrooms? So, you start having friends and you see they live different. They have one sibling. Everybody has their own bedroom. Their yard has a barbecue and a pool; my yard was full of herbs, a corn on the cob, tomatoes, Calabasas.

Dr. Colon:

Oh my goodness. Okay, this is where it gets good. This is really where it gets good. We're going to have to take a commercial break in just a minute, but here's today, if you're just joining us, today's lesson is be a good listener

This message comes from my mom and she offers this lesson to her granddaughter I think daily. Papaya tries to be a good listener every day when she's with you mom and our question today is whose voice are, we listening to? 

In preparing with my mom for this interview today, I was intrigued by this question, how does one who was discouraged from attending college grow up to produce three children who grew up believing that college is not a choice but it was in fact a destination. 

So, if you want your child to truly believe she can achieve anything, there was one word my mom is going to share with you, the one word that all parents must remove from their vocabulary. So, we are here with Lydia Franco, daughter, immigrant, sister, single mom, hairdresser, entrepreneur, honor, student, grandmother, and believer. We need to take a commercial break, but grab a pen and paper, grab your sip of green tea or water and get cozy because we will be right back.

[16:46] [Commercial break]

Dr. Colon: [19:42]

When I was a teacher, when I was in school, I used to say write this down when there were little nuggets. So, I did ask you to get a paper and pen. I always like to do that because first of all, my mother is filled with little golden nuggets of information. So, if ever you hear something that she says, I would say to you, write it down. So, you want to have a paper and pen if you're old school or at least your phone somewhere nearby to take notes. That's what I do. And I love to listen to podcast. And when I get a little nugget, I write it down and I marinade on it. And I often even write about it later. 

So, we're here live with Lydia Franco, my mother, and she raised three girls in Bellflower, California. If you're just joining us, welcome to Destination Youniversity. So, you were leading us into what it was like to grow up. You're one of 12 siblings, you grew up in a home of two bedrooms for 12 kids and there was always someone older than you. You're number five. And there was always someone whose diaper you were helping to change, always right, your entire life. So, you finally get to high school and high school in ninth grade is 14, 15 years old. And so, talk about being at Dominguez high school. What was that like and tell us about your teachers, your friends?

Lydia Franco:

Well, as I say, when you're a child, you don't know the differences between you and other people or even lifestyles. But as I grew older and went into elementary and junior high and high school, I really looked at all of the options that I had. It was like not everybody lives in a two-bedroom home. Not everybody has 12 children, there are other lifestyles. And so, going into high school and learning that there are options. I remember once we had a college fair and there were airline stewardess from American Airlines and Continental and I thought, oh my God, that would be wonderful to just fly away and disappear. 

Dr. Colon:

And for that great uniform.

Lydia Franco:

A brand-new beginning and so I signed up and the next thing you know, I was signed up for airline stewardess class. And so, I continued with this. And again, I didn't ever really have a lot of friends that had ideas of going to college. My best friends probably there, that were my neighbors and the Lambs that were neighbors, they too had a large family. But I don't remember ever having somebody that was gun holing going to college, but I knew I wanted something other than what I was raised at. Nothing [22:31inaudible], my parents taught us great virtues and responsibility and stuff. But there had to be more to life. 

From College Fair to College Student

Dr. Colon:

So, where do you think that idea of college, where did that come from? From a college fair or from a teacher? 

Lydia Franco:

From a college fair and I thought how wonderful it would be to be in a dorm and now have a cheap folder and go to school and not live at home changing diapers every day. It had to be a better life. 

Dr. Colon:

So, well there is a plug for going to college fairs. You just gave a big plug. Wow, that's great. 

Lydia Franco:

And again, they're very fortunate to have you sent there because you give them an actual map, map it out. I mean if they don't get it, shame on them, but back then it wasn't like that. You just had to be assertive. And so, I did that and not knowing exactly what to do. I picked up applications and started doing what I needed to do. 

Dr. Colon:

You went to the counsellor office I bet. 

Lydia Franco:

Yes. 

Dr. Colon:

So now you're a senior and you're thinking, I want to go to college.

Lydia Franco:

I want to go to college, I want more, I want my own room, I want my own everything because we had to share everything. I mean, can you imagine two bikes for 12 children? One boy, one girl. No, I want my own bike, my own shoe. I want my own room. I want my own life. So, I applied and again, not really knowing what to expect or whatever. 

Dr. Colon:

Do you remember where you applied mom? I know you remember those two schools, but do you remember? Tell the audience where you applied. 

Lydia Franco:

I remember applying to Dominguez Hills.

Dr. Colon:

Cal State, Dominguez Hills.

Lydia Franco:

Cal State, Dominguez Hills, because back in the day that was a brand-new college that was a brand-new college and everybody that was going to school was going to go to Dominguez.

Dr. Colon:

It had new dorms had new everything. 

Lydia Franco:

Everything, and I don't know where I got the idea of Marymount. 

Dr. Colon:

[24:32inaudible] right? Loyola Marymount. 

Lydia Franco:

Loyola Marymount. 

Dr. Colon:

Oh wow, speaking my language. 

Lydia Franco:

So, I applied to those schools. I remember applying to other schools, I don't remember the name, but I remember these two schools in particular because one day I got a letter and it said I was accepted to college. Can you imagine this little girl that grew up in Compton, not knowing a word of Spanish, parents wanting more for us? And finally, my dream is here. 

Dr. Colon:

Wow. So, you get this letter from both of the schools. As you told me, you were admitted to both Cal State Dominguez and also Marymount, right? 

Lydia Franco:

Yes. 

Dr. Colon:

Okay. So, I imagine it was like when I was accepted to USC, big envelope comes in the mail and you're like excited running around and you go and who is the one person that you want to tell?

Lydia Franco:

Your mother is the first person who shows everything to, good or bad or indifferent. But your mother's the first one that you talked to. So, I run home and by now my parents have purchased a little grocery store in the neighborhood called home market. So, she was always working there. And of course, we had shifts because we always had to help in the family business. So, I go, and I explained to her that I got this letter and I got accepted to college, Dominguez Hills. That was a big deal. 

Accepted to be a College Student! But wait…

And with my excitement in my face, she turned around and she just looked at him and she said, interpreted, “I don't understand why you're wanting to go to college. All you're going to do is get married and have a bunch of kids.” 

I'm a good listener and always listened to my mom and that's stuck to my head, like why am I not going to college? Because she says I'm just going to get married and have a bunch of kids. The unfortunate part was that she was absolutely correct. I did get married, not only married, but divorced and had a bunch of kids. 

Dr. Colon:

Well, hang on, let's back up a second. So, you're excited about getting into college and well-deserved, right? So, you've worked hard. You get in and she says this to you and it changes your direction because you must've been devastated and crushed and you thought, I mean, you didn't have people around you who were going to college. And so now the only person who, let me say this, we all, I am, well, I won't say how old I am, but on video, but we all want to please our parents. We want nothing more than to seek their approval. And so, the very person you tell says, propose it rains on your parade and you think, wow, if this person doesn't believe in me, I guess I don't believe in me. 

So, I know you did a little bit of a community college and then by the time you were 20 you had a baby, you were married. So exactly what she said was going to happen was almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

From College Student to Somewhere Else

Lydia Franco:

Absolutely. Exactly what she said, because I am a good listener. I listened to my mom; we all listened to our parents. That's what we're told to be a good listener. Listen to your mom, listen to your dad, listen to your abuela, and listen to your teacher, what are the things that you're listening to? And that's what I remember that she always said, I was just going to get married and have a bunch of kids. Oh my God. Not just married, like she said, a bunch of kids, and now divorced. 

Dr. Colon:

Well, there's a lot of good stuff that happened in between all of that. But let's just break this down for a second. Okay. Because we're here and we're talking about how does one get to college, even when you don't have the support systems around you helping you. So, you get married, you have three kids and you made a decision to change that environment in the household for your three girls. 

Breaking the Cycle: Not IF but WHEN you become a College Student

So really this is where it gets good for me because it turned out good for me and for the other two, right? All three of us. So, mom, share with the audience what word did you remove from your vocabulary? 

Lydia Franco:

I knew that I let my mother discourage and influence my choices and that was not going to happen with my daughters. That was never going to be an option for them. I knew one day they would grow up and they would too marry and they may be in a situation of divorce or maybe their husband would pass away and knowing what I had to go through to get my daughters through life, that was not going to happen for them. And so when they were growing up it was always in the household. When you go to college, Cynthia; when you go to college Jess; when you go to college Steph; it was never, ever, ever a question of if you go. Because that little word, that little tiny word put such a separation between doing and not doing. 

Dr. Colon:

That's right. 

Lydia Franco:

You never say if you go to college, remove that. It is when you go to college for that's happening, no questions about it.

Dr. Colon:

It seems such so simple, right? It seems like, and maybe parents, listening you're going, of course, that's what I do, that's what I do; and it seems so simple. But to just bring it home, I want to say to parents that when you change that word for anything, not just when you go to college, but when you get an A on that math test, when you make the varsity team, when you graduate from high school, for some that's going to be a big deal in their home for some; so changing the if to when. And some of you might be thinking, oh I can't say when they make the varsity team because what if they don't make the varsity team. They may not make the varsity team this year, but now you've planted that seed in their head and they're thinking, all they're thinking because they want your approval, all they're thinking is, yeah, mom believes in me. 

She said, when I make the team, when I get the A, when I graduate from college, and that means it's a foregone conclusion. It means it will happen. And it may not happen right away but that little tiny word, those two letters can really change the way a kid is hearing the voices in their head. And that's really what today is all about. So, to circle back, we talked about the soundtracks, right? Those of you who are millennials, what is the soundtrack? You know the tapes, the CDs? No. Okay, wait, what do we have now? Digital. Just digital stuff. So, the soundtracks we play in our head come from the very people we keep close to us and the people we keep closest to us are our parents, our family, and our closest friends. So, I want to say to you, everyone, if you're a student, I challenge you, find friends who are going to inspire you and going to push you. Find friends that you aspire to be. Maybe you don't have friends in your life that go to the college but go find them or find the friends who have parents who went to college; parents, if you yourself didn't go to college, find people who did. So, another great story I love... 

Lydia Franco:

It's never too late to school.

Dr. Colon:

So, I think we should share this story because I love this story about how you, so there are parents who might be listening, and they had their dream deferred. So, mom, how old were you? Well you don't have to say how old, but when did you go back to college yourself? I love this phrase. 

A College Student Once Again

Lydia Franco:

I went back to college and I'm not afraid or embarrassed to say it, at the age of 58, after my dad passed away of cancer, rest in peace, dad. I just felt the need that there was just something that I needed to do. And that urge and desire and the dream of going to college and being a student, it was just in my soul. And after dad passed away, I decided to go to long beach city to check it out and see what I needed to do. Not knowing how to sign up even at age 58. I took a peachy folder with me. I took a pen and pencil because I was going to fill out an application for college and financial aid and whatever was going to be coming my way. And when I get there everything was computerized. I didn't own a computer; I didn't own a phone. And so, when they directed me to a computer to sign up, I almost broke down and cried.

Dr. Colon:

Who helped you or what happened? 

Lydia Franco:

I immediately left the school with my little peachy folder and pen and pencil and I called one of my clients that had recently signed up for college at a later age to go to nursing school. So, I told her I needed a mom to hold my hand and register me for school. So, she came with me and she registered me on the computer and she's at the first class that you are taking is a computer class. Like that's great. And so, we used her email for a while until I got it together. 

Dr. Colon:

So, my favorite story is that you enrol in this computer class, you shared this with me last week. So, you go to the class? You don't know how to turn on the computer, right? And literally the kid next to you helps you push like a single little button to turn on the computer.

Lydia Franco:

The teacher comes in and everybody has a computer. I don't even know what it looks like, what is supposed to do. And she says, okay, everyone turns on your computer. So I looked behind it on the bottom of it, behind my table, around my desk looking for a button and all of a sudden the student, the very young student reached over to my computer and just pressed a button and turn it on. 

Dr. Colon:

Oh, my goodness. So, to quickly wrap up that little story the next day, the teacher had given them homework and said to put it in word. So, mom comes to class next day, excited that she's the first to turn in her homework on paper. And the teacher says, what's this? And she says, this is my homework. And the teacher looks at her crazy and she says, you told me to put it in word.

Lydia Franco:

She said she wants it in words. So, it was a true and false assignment. So, I just so proudly went home and did my assignment immediately and wrote out each word, true and false and turned it in on her desk, first one to turn it in. And she looked at me and said, I said in word, and I say it is. 

Dr. Colon:

Oh my gosh. Okay. We have to go to commercial. But listen everyone, I hope you're just as enraptured as I am, but we're going to break, grab your pen and paper if you don't have it. 

I'm going to give you five practical tips before we leave today that you can implement today to create that college going culture. So, stick with us. We are not done. We are live here with Lydia Franco. All right, thanks mom.

[(06:46) commercial break]

Dr. Colon: (09:13)

We are back and I'm sitting here with my posse here and we were all just laughing at your story. We're not laughing at you mom; we're laughing with you. It is one of the best stories I've ever heard you tell. And I just said learned about it just to just a week ago when we were sort of just talking and bantering about this episode. And boy, do I wish I could have you on every single week because you are full of good stories. So anyway, welcome back with us. I hope you have your pen and paper ready or something to take notes. We're going to be giving lots of things before we close the show today. We have plenty of time so not to worry, but I hope you are enjoying my mom just as much as I do. 

So I want to close up with my story because I paused my story and I went to USC with a drill team and I don't remember, but I'm sure I came home saying this is where I want to go because all I talked about for like a whole, like forever after going to that game was USC, USC and I was a college football fan. I watched Tennessee, I watched Nebraska, I watched UCLA watching all the football teams that were big back in that time, but I really had my heart set on USC. 

So, I get to senior year and I too must've picked up a Cal state application from the office. But I didn't really know. And you know, USC is a private school. I didn't know where to get that application. And mom, you had met Mr. Vargas, Mr. Raoul Vargas also at the end, but you tell them the middle we end up going to his office and he was a director of a Mexican American alumni association at USC. And he took our appointment after hours and sat with us and explained to me how I could apply to college and how you could apply to financial aid. But it's really serendipity how you even met him. So, tell the story of how you met Mr. Vargas and that little card that you kept.

Helping to create new College Students 

Lydia Franco:

Okay. At the time I was working for security Pacific national bank. I know that's a long time ago, but there was a bank called security Pacific that I had been working there and actually worked for 26 years and many times we went to social events and at one of these social events that we went to, sat on a table and met Mr. Vargas there and in sharing what we did he explained to me that he was a college counsellor at USC and if I had any kids and I let them know I had three and one was about ready to go soon. He gave me his business card and he said when you're ready, just give me a call and we'll get her in. I held onto that little business card in my little pocket for a while.

I don't remember exactly how long. But it was ironic that in another social event that I went to with my older brother, Vick there was Mr. Vargas sitting at the table and lo and behold, he and Vic had been friends for life. So, when my daughter Cynthia came home and said she wanted to go to this school. It was just ironic that it was the same little business card that I had in my pocket for years prior to that. And Mr. Vargas said, when we're ready, just give us a call. And you're absolutely right Cynthia, he made arrangements to see us after hours because we came after I got off work and I remember driving out there and...

Dr. Colon:

In our Brown Oldsmobile up the one 10 freeway getting off on expedition. And here's really, people who are listening there are a couple of things I want you to write down. One, when you have a dream, and I did, I wanted to go to USC, and I started to say it out loud. I told anybody who would listen. That's where I wanted to go, that's where I wanted to go. And at the same time, when you're open to it, here's the irony, mom is doing her thing, going to her events and then she meets someone who works at USC who can help us. So those things, I don't believe things happen by accident. I believe things happen because you put them out in the world, you believe in them, and you put your mindset around going to college in this case. So that's one takeaway, the other takeaway is parents, if you don't have the answer, if you don't know how to get to college, you didn't go to college yourself, you figure it out. And that's really why you're my hero. Because you always have sort of figured out, and you were a listener. You will always be a good listener. And you were listening to the person who was sitting right next to you at this dinner or this event, and you listened when he said, call me when you're ready. And when we were ready, you called.

Lydia Franco:

Absolutely. And you never know who's sitting next to you. So no matter where you are, whether you're at the laundromat, whether you're in the in line for the grocery store or the bank, say hello to the person next to you, chat with them and see what they do. You never know that business card might save your life or help your kids get into college.

Dr. Colon:

That's probably why I meet so many people. Jane, if you're listening, Jane and I went on a trip to Alaska recently and I kid you not, I came home with 50 new people, 50 new friends, that I had met on the ship, on the hike. Anywhere you go. And I get that from you because it's true. You just never know who you're going to meet. And we're going to talk to and actually, the reason I'm on this show is someone I met in my complex who introduced me to the executive producer here on Voice America, and then we had a conversation and one thing led to another and here we are. So really that's one of the golden nuggets from Lydia Franco. Meet everybody talk to everybody. She'll get your, you know, don't sit next to her if you don't want to share your life story because she'll get your life story in about two seconds.

Lydia Franco:

Oh yeah, I get you an appointment and get your hair done too. Yeah. Okay. We'll get to that. So, if you're listening, you know that I wrote this book Tips, Tales and Truths for Teens, but really, it's sort of become how I live my life in telling tips and tales and truths. And might get a little emotional here, but last week or now it's been two weeks since we talked and we prepared a little bit for this chat, it occurred to me, mom, that the real truth about our story is that when I got into USC, I remember running around and I called you at security Pacific bank to tell you and I had the red shoe as the phone. This is back when we had that [45:48inaudible]

Lydia Franco:

I had to have a red shoe somehow.

Why it’s so vital to become a College Student 

Dr. Colon:

And you and dad were already separated. And it's not a secret that he wasn't the best husband and provider for us. And so, you were really doing this on your own. And the truth is, you could have prevented me from going to college or if you could have asked me to stay at home and live at home and have a job and contribute, you could've asked me to go part time to school. You could have asked that I stay and help with the kids. They weren't in diapers exactly, but they were certainly still in grade school. We certainly needed the help. So, it really took me until now to see like just how brave it was of you and courageous to let me go. And so, I want to ask you now, why did you do that? 

Lydia Franco:

Okay. Cyn, don't make me cry. 

Dr. Colon:

Okay. Okay. Okay, let's hold it together. I know we've got seven minutes. So, tell it in 30 seconds. 

Lydia Franco:

The reason that I would never have that is because it was not your responsibility to see how I was going to raise my kids? It was not your job to do my job. And because I grew up with the dream that was never fulfilled until I was 58 years old. And I knew that by me getting you prepared for life by going to college, to be able to do more for yourself, I would be doing more for you because it was your life. It was your choice. I'd already lived my life and it was my responsibility to figure my situation out. I made those choices, but it was my choice to know that my kids were not going to go through the same struggles that I did. You might be divorced, you may be separated, you may, whatever, but you will be self-sufficient and not worrying as to how you're going to make the rent. How are you going to pay for the shoes? How are you going to, no? 

I wanted you to have a better life than I knew that by going to college, it doesn't guarantee you success, but certainly it's an insurance. It's an insurance policy for the possibility of success.

Becoming a college student is an insurance policy for the possibility of success.

Dr. Colon:

What a golden nugget that was. Write that down, an insurance policy for what's possible. Mom, I want to thank you for making that choice. And I guess ultimately, I was the best listener because I listened to you, I listened to you the whole time and I listened to you. I could not see that you were in real need of support and help financially and otherwise. But I did listen to you believing in me. I listened to you cheering for me and supporting me and my dreams. So, thank you for believing in me and I guess thank me for being a good listener and following you. So okay, we are going to, we have about five minutes left. So what do you say we give our listeners five tips that they can take away today, leave with today and start creating that college going culture right in the home?

And let me just say, colleges may not be for everybody, but again, if you make that part of the culture of your home, then at least your kids have the option. They have the luxury of having the option because not everybody has that luxury.

5 tips to help your future college student

So, here are the five tips I have, and I want you to say the last one. Okay, that one is my favorite. So, everyone, let's see, you want to write this down. 

  • Number one is the one we've been talking about, which is replace the word if with the word when. When you go to college, when you get an A, when you pass your test, when you make the team.
  • Number two, write this down. Listen and engage your child in conversation. In other words, put down your phone. Learn about their dreams; learn about her worries, his struggles, her goals. You will learn a lot. 
  • Number three, write this down. Encourage their interests, strengths, and dreams. Say things like, it sounds like you've found something you're really good at or I can hear the enthusiasm in your voice. 
  • Number four, make a vision board together. Make this a project. It's the beginning of school. Everyone's back to school. Make a vision board. Really see what is in front of you, what you're dreaming of because when you dream it, you can think it. Put it down, you share it, it becomes reality. And number five. Mom, why don't you share, what is number five? 

Lydia Franco:

  • Number five is the last but most important, parents never forget and constantly remind your kids and say, I am so proud of you and I love you. Say it often let them know. Let them know you're behind them. Because if the parents are not behind them then who else could you expect to be?

 

Dr. Colon:

Oh my God. Oh, we're getting emotional. Okay. I need my green tea and my Kleenex. Okay. What a treat it's been to have you here, Mom. We're going to wrap up, but is it okay if we share how to get a hold of you? So, my mom is a hairdresser. She was a banker. She had a full career and then went back to school. She was always doing our perms for all her sisters and myself and my sisters. And she finally got back to school to actually for real do it. So, if you have a question for Lydia, if something struck you today or you just want to send her something, then you can reach her at [email protected] That's L-Y-D-I-A, Franco, F-R-A-N-C-O 28, Gmail. You can also book an appointment to get your hair done because she's pretty good at that.

So we've got a couple of minutes. Let me tell our topic for next week is Ivy or intuition, which would you choose if you were admitted to an Ivy league, would you choose that automatically or would you go with your gut intuition? That's our topic next week with Julie Taylor-Voz, she is going to share. She's from New Orleans and she was choosing between Ivy or West coast. Oh, okay. We're at the end. I can't believe it went so fast. I want you to know that by joining me, you are now part of my family. You can go to my website, www.drcynthiacolon.com. You can register your child for essay camps if they're a senior in high school. Parents, you can sign up for a free consultation or if you're looking for a way to pay for school expenses or save for college tuition, send me an email at, you can find it that my website or you can email [email protected] that's destination Y O U [email protected] 

Oh, my goodness. It's time to say goodbye. All right, everyone, if we have done anything to fuel your confidence or help build dreams, then please share this episode with three people in the next 30 minutes and I will see you next Wednesday, noon Pacific. Until then, wherever you are, may you have a happy and sunny day. Thanks mom.

[53:22 outro]

Thank you so much for listening this week to Destination Youniversity. Be sure to join Dr. Cynthia Colon again next Wednesday and get one step closer to your success.