Rodriguez did not really know his father. On page 37, he discussed a moment when he realized his father was not shy, "But my father was not shy, I realized, when I'd watch him speaking Spanish with relatives. Using Spanish, he was quickly effusive. Especially when talking with other men, his voice would spark, flicker, flare alive with sounds. In Spanish, he expressed ideas and feelings he rarely revealed in English."
Learning English is very important, but it should not replace your culture or traditions. Students should be proud of their heritage.
I remember a couple weeks ago I had a student who stayed after school to make-up a test. She called her Mom for a ride home and covered her mouth as she spoke to her in Spanish. When she got off the phone, she laughed and apologized for her Mom only understanding Spanish. I asked her why she was sorry and explained that it is not to apologize for. I went on to explain she should be proud of her culture and proud that she is bilingual.
Both private and public individuality are important.