I should probably start by saying that not everyone needs to raise their children to speak multiple languages. It’s not a requirement, and I would even go as far as to say that it’s your right to raise your kids as you see fit in this regard. Heck, it’s the 4th of July, a day to celebrate your many liberties. If you want to teach your children to speak only one language, you are free to do so. And I don’t particularly care which language you decide to teach them, as long as they grow up to be a functioning member of the society in which they live.
I do, however, consider being bilingual a worthy and attainable goal. If you speak more than one language and are rearing children, you have a unique opportunity to pass on an invaluable gift: the ability to communicate with a broader range of people than our monolingual counterparts. Being fluent in more than one language literally opens up whole new parts of the world to the speaker.
If you feel like I am putting you down or flaunting in some way because you only speak one language, please know that is not my intention. Please also know that you too can raise children who speak more than one language, although the path will be a bit trickier.
I know it can be done because I’m living proof. I was raised in a monolingual family and spoke only English until I was 14 years old. That all changed once my high school Spanish teacher taught us in an intuitive and natural way. Fast forward 16 years (yikes!) and I now teach Spanish for a living at a couple of the local community colleges.
In the coming posts I will share some of the experiences and adventures in my raising a beautiful boy to be bilingual.
Thank you for keeping us company!
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