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Edixon Martinez is an experienced family educator with over 16 years of experience. He specializes in teaching parents how to effectively manage conflict and build stronger relationships with their children and partners.

I had a chance to sit down with him this week and ask him about all the amazing work he’s doing with families in Sacramento.

Question for Edixon: What’s happening there in Sacramento? Are there particular challenges that parents and couples experience with regard to their family relationships?

Edixon: The people I work with tend to be mostly Hispanic and primarily in rural jobs, which means they’re working all day and it’s very difficult to find the time for anything other than work and basic life tasks.

Another aspect of the region, and this demographic, that makes it difficult for folks to invest in Relationship Education is that many of them have to travel for work too. So they’re not able to commit to be near the location where they might have heard about relationship-skill-building workshops.

Question: Are those the biggest challenges then—time and travel? 

Edixon: Yes. Plus I’d say one more major thing, and this maybe pertains more to parenting than coupling. This is not the world they grew up in. The fast pace of technology, and political trends, and cultural differences…parents just simply can’t relate to their kids. And because they don’t have relationships with their own fathers, again part of that old mindset and the reality of their situation, where do they start?!

These are just some of the things that our team at HRC and the R3 Academy are working on—to provide really genuinely helpful resources and practical skills for these people who desperately need them!

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Question: Can you give me an example?

Edixon: Definitely. I was sharing with a big group last month telling people about the R3 Academy and a dad came up to me asking if we could go somewhere quiet. He was starting to cry. He shared with me that he caught his son looking at some things on his phone that he shouldn’t be. And instead of being a strong parent, he felt like a coward.

He closed the door and hasn’t talked with his son yet. Not only does he not have a relationship with his son, he doesn’t understand the technology that his kids have access to, and they don’t have the same fundamentally conservative world and community that he himself had grown up in…so what is he supposed to do? He was really crying at this point.

Oh man, and to make matters worse, I don’t know if you can relate to this at all, but many of these first generation families absolutely rely on their kids. Their English isn’t always the best, so they depend on their 11-year-old son to translate for them. They help with medical appointments, or government documents, or important website tasks. That’s like adding salt to their wound. They can’t afford to risk hurting the already damaged relationship they have with their kids.

This is a farmer and his wife we’re talking about. Their parents and grandparents and as far back as they can go were farmers in a conservative small community. It’s about as polar opposite as you can get.

Question for Edixon: So what can you do? What can they do?

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Edixon: My number one goal is to break that old mold and give them hope! My first session will be about shifting your mindset—things here and now are NOT the same as they were for you. BUT if we can work together, if you work with your kids, then you can have the relationship you want.

You don’t have to repeat the broken home that you had growing up. But you HAVE to do something. If you don’t, then you can only drift farther apart. You can move closer or farther apart and those are the only options; there’s no such thing as staying the same.

After we deal with the old “stinking thinking,” then we can walk through the foundations and processes from the R3 Academy. Once they start practicing these skills with their kids, it’s a miracle!  

That same man from my story earlier, after only two classes, told me, “Ed, you won’t believe it! My kid just initiated a conversation with me! All I did was practice listening, and he started sharing with me.” It’s like a different world for both of them now. They can talk with each other and get through this.

Question: If you only had two minutes with someone to encourage them to try a class, what would you say?

Edixon: I’d ask them if they’re tired, or in pain. And I’d tell them that I know you love your wife and your kids. I have something that WILL help.

The only thing you know, because this is how you grew up, is yelling and anxiety.

This class will benefit you!

And you don’t have to worry about cost. I know that everything is more and more expensive. In fact, that’s one of the things causing anxiety. Well, forget about that. HRC has received a grant so that we can provide this to you for free!

You can learn more about Edixon here.

You can learn more about HRC here and R3 Academy here.