two girls holding handsYou see those girls in that picture? They are mine and I love them more than I ever thought possible. I want to give them everything I possibly can and one of biggest gifts I can give them is a love and appreciation for their heritage and culture. Culture is learned. It is passed on from one generation to another and it is with great happiness and pride that I will be passing on to my daughters what has been passed on to me.

When I was growing up, my Latino culture surrounded me, it permeated every aspect of my home life, but that's not the case for my daughters. We are a mixed family and I embrace that mixture, but I want to make sure that my daughters absorb their Latino heritage. I want them to have a firm grasp of our cultural history, while realizing that although culture is learned it is not static, it evolves; it grows and changes as we grow and change.

Read more ¿Qué más?:WATCH: Did this 2-month-old baby just say "I love you"?

Here are 10 things I will teach my Latina daughters:

1. I will teach them to speak Spanish. Being bilingual has been a gift that never stops giving in my life. I learned Spanish at home because that's what we spoke. It is the language of my childhood and for that reason I love it.

2. I will teach them that you don't have to speak Spanish to be Latino and to never judge another Latinos for not speaking Spanish. Many Latinos don't speak Spanish and that does not make them any less Latino. People can get really stuck on the language issue. My family is Mexican and I know that before the Spanish came to Mexico, my peoples were not speaking Spanish and that's true for all the other countries that Spain colonized.

3. I will teach them to love their hair just as it is. I'm a curly haired Latina with curly haired daughters. I didn't love my natural curls until I was an adult because no one else in my family seemed to love their curly hair. There is nothing wrong with straightening your hair if it is curly or curling your hair if it is straight, but there is something very wrong about not loving your hair in its natural state. That's a whole lot of baggage that I don't want my girls to carry around.

4. I will teach them that being proud of your culture does not mean denigrating anyone else's. 'Nuff said.

5. I will teach them that they do not NEED a man or a woman for that matter. They can HAVE a man or a woman if they want, but they don't NEED one.

6. I will teach them that they come from a long line of powerful, fuerte and competent women. Women that have always been in charge regardless of any societal or cultural notions that wanted to keep them in their place.

7. I will teach them that there is joy and strength in familia. Sure they will want to break free and go their own way and I will let them, but they will realize that the one thing that they will always have no matter where they are is the support of their familia.

8. I will teach them that not every one gets to be their familia just because they are related. If someone is abusive or does not have their best interest at heart adios and good riddance.

9. I will teach them that food is a beautiful way to explore all the cultures of the world.

10. I will teach them how to make arroz con leche, albondigas, calabacitas and so much more because one day when I am not around to cook for them, they will cook them for themselves and with every bite they will remember just how much I have always loved them and how much I will always love them.

Image via UnknownMami.com

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About the author

You can find Claudya Martinez on her own blog Unknown Mami. Stop by, she loves visitors. Of course you can also find her on Twitter or Facebook.

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