This year, I send my Christmas greetings from Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico.

Besides seeing all of my wonderful in-laws and cousins, I had the opportunity to meet with a couple of my students from many years ago.  They are now entrepreneurs, business owners, and influential leaders in the complex web of Mexican and International society.

I knew them when they were just kids struggling through engineering school – I saw them as gems in the rough, now I get to marvel at the diamonds.  Wow, what an incredible experience.   Of course, they can’t see how I view them nor can I see how they view me.  One thing is certain, these are very special relationships.  I managed to hold back tears of joy.

The trust is instantaneous and profound.  We hang on each other’s words as incalculable truths pour from our experiences.  We cite each other’s nuances and we recall quotes long ago lost.  I remember the extraordinary challenges of getting 250 of them through the US Engineering Board exams.  We spoke of the early days of NAFTA and the oppression of the Maquiladora Industry.  We spoke with the wisdom that we wished we had 17 long years ago.

I wonder what happened to the others.  I know a few that have also become quite successful.  The only thing I gave them was proof that they were equal in every way to any engineer on earth.  As such, they managed their careers with that single data point lodged in the back of their mind.  Now they are proving to me what I had only suspected then.

In return, they gave me everything that I am thankful for today as I celebrate Christmas with my wonderful family.  I met my wife while working with these kids.  I found my own ethnic identity working with these kids.  I learned Spanish working with these kids.  I earned the wisdom to represent a fortune 100 company around the World after working with my kids. In fact, my blog and all supporting research is a direct result of a flaw I observed in market capitalism while working with my kids and their interaction with NAFTA. The courage to leave corporate life and take a leadership role in an hugely disruptive start-up company is a direct result of working with these kids.

These kids (men and woman) are among the greatest gift I could have ever imagined receiving.  My advice to others is to always have students.  Always teach people what you know.  Always elevate others and you will find yourself elevated to astonishing heights. Be a student and provide this joy to those who wish share themselves deeply with you.  This is where true happiness is found.  This is the gift that Christmas celebrates – be a teacher

Merry Christmas.

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