Caring can be learned in many ways. For me, the importance of caring for others is inherent in my Mexican heritage, and the most important influence in my life was my grandmother, who taught me that giving is better than receiving. Now, as a mother of two daughters, I hope to instill those same caring values in them, and a key to that is teaching by example.
I grew up watching my grandmother show care in everything she did. She always spent time helping others in her community, and everyone in the town often expressed gratitude for all of her acts of kindness and thoughtfulness. As a little girl, I would attend church with my grandmother, and each time we would bring donations for those in need in the community. I remember many of those people waiting outside for my grandmother to arrive, and the look of appreciation they always had on their faces when they would see her walk up the steps with spare clothing and food to give to them.
My grandmother is my inspiration, and every day she showed me that even the smallest acts of care can change the world! My grandmother’s generosity and selflessness has always been a wonderful example and a reminder to me and my family to try to live our lives the same way.
Being a mother is one of my greatest joys, and everything I do with my girls, I do with love and care. Rather than telling them to be caring, I try to model caring behavior. One way my daughters and I show care for others is by giving toys to kids that are less fortunate. We pack up their gently used toys to give to other kids. We have a ritual when packing: I tell them to hug the toy and say, “Thank you for making me happy. I will let you go so you can make other kids happy!” I am so proud of my girls when I see the love in their eyes when we completely fill boxes of toys, and the smiles they get back from those thankful kids.
I take every moment I can to teach my daughters the things my grandmother taught me – that the simplest acts of care can truly make a difference in the lives of others. My hope is that as my daughters grow up, and eventually become mothers themselves, they will continue the caring traditions in our family for generations to come.
Karla Martínez is the co-host of Univision’s morning show “Despierta America,” and has hosted many special events for the network. In 2008, Karla published her first book with Random House titled “The Power of a Smile,” which has been very successful, and she has also been named one of People En Español’s 50 Most Beautiful on several occasions. Most recently, Karla became the spokesperson for the Champions of Care program, a Johnson & Johnson 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ sponsorship initiative that recognizes and celebrates people who go above and beyond in caring for others. Karla resides in Miami with her husband and two daughters.