An Arizona couple have been named as National Parents of the Year. Ezekiel and Pauline Sanchez felt awkward about the award at first, but they say they can now see how it might be used.

“Perhaps it is we’re supposed to be a voice for all the families who are working so hard to take care of their children,” said Pauline Sanchez.

The couple, one of three honored nationally, received the award from the National Parents Council in October. In 2001, the couple was named Arizona’s Parents of the Year, the first time an American Indian couple has received the honor. The Sanchez children range in age from 14 to 27.

Ezekiel Sanchez says the family has the normal challenges that face most families. But his wife describes their parenting style as heartfelt. “I think we try to live from the heart. In the Indian culture, they look to the heart. The heart represents the person,” she said. “For me the heart is a doorway to the spirit.”

Source: Associated Press