Most people give me a funny look when I tell them that the kids are in Mandarin classes. Sometimes they say things like, "Well, does your husband speak it?" When I say no and proceed to tell them that the rest of the family speaks Cantonese, not Mandarin, their brow furrows even more with that quizzical, semi-skeptical look which says (without actually saying it) "Then why in the world do you bother?!" I bother because it's very important to me that my children have strong ties to their heritage. I believe that, in order to know where you're going in life, you first have to explore where you came from. What better way to do that than through acquiring another language?
And, I do it because one day it just hit me: Do I really want to get 20 years down the road and wish that I had tried? So, part of my explanation now includes some phrase about "learning as much as we can" and being happy with that. I finally realized that the gift of language is a legacy that I want to leave my children. Among other things, I want these classes (as well as years of driving them back and forth and getting up early every Saturday for FOREVER to go to Language Stars) to be something they can look back on and say, "Mom did that for me." I think that the ability to be bilingual will provide them with more choices in life, creating more possibilities of where they might work, the kind of work they will choose, and on and on. Who doesn't want to give their child a sense of accomplishment, pride in a job well done, and a greater chance of success? I think second language learning does all three things.
|My son writing the word "fruit." He's young yet, but look how hard he tries!|
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