We often travel to work, school, sporting activities, church, or vacations. We have highways, side streets, dirt roads, roundabouts, two way streets, one way streets, and dead ends. We travel down many roads to reach a destination. The Croatian community symbolically has many different roads which can lead you to the right or wrong path.
Our community is very big, but yet is a defined group of organizations and people. During the early 70’s, many Croatians have immigrated to the States. People came alone leaving family back in Croatia. There were many different groups who worked together to keep our culture, customs, and beliefs. It was a difficult but wonderful time for our fathers, mothers, & grandparents. This was a time when we were all together and continued the ways of our homeland.
Today, our community has changed immensely. Generations have passed and families have grown. Our parents focused on their happiness by getting together, playing cards, bocce, soccer, cooking, baking, and more. Everyone’s focus has shifted. We have completely made a 180 degree turn. We have created a lonely destiny. Our lives have become work, children, school, with minimal relaxation and spending time doing what our parents could while we were growing up. Many 1ST generation Croats looked for Croatian girlfriends or boyfriends. They would go to all the functions, “zabave”, church, school, and even Croatia. Many, who sought out a Croatian partner and start a family neglect to let their children have the same opportunities that they had.
As many know, we are becoming a melting pot of Americans or Canadians. Recently, one of our folklore groups visited South America, and they saw the future. South Americans are 20 years ahead of us. What they saw, was a picture of where we will be in the next 20 years. It is starting to happen everywhere. It doesn’t matter if we married a Croatian, American, or Canadian. We need to keep our culture and extend it to our children, but not by segregating our children from the community. Some of my best friends were a result of my parent’s friendship with other Croatian parents. Yet, we don’t give our children the same opportunity to get to know their own culture.
Everyone wants to focus on their organization or small circle of friends & family. Basically, everyone wants others to attend their event, but they do not take the time to reciprocate and support other organizations. We all need to come together as a cohesive community. It cannot be a “One Way Street.” What does this mean? It means support each other because we are one family and the future is now.