how do you say…?

My most recent wonderings regarding V include whether or not we should begin teaching her a foreign language while her brain is in the glory days of malleability. Because I have minimal foreign language skills and exposure, I’d have to rely heavily on a “program,” like Muzzy. I wouldn’t mind this, but I’d want to make sure we choose an effective program… and a useful language.

Until now, my argument against employing “baby talk” programs has been the seemingly arbitrariness of choosing which language to teach an infant; how am I supposed to know if she will be living in a Spanish-speaking neighborhood, working in China for the FBI, or leading a mission in Quebec 30 years from now? After all, if she needs to know a language as an adult, won’t she be able to learn enough basics to survive? I expressed these thoughts to a dear bilingual friend who set me straight with the stats about how languages open up dormant areas of the brain and expand an individual’s emotional IQ, etc. I decided to dedicate this question to prayer and wait for God to reveal which language would be best for Vivienne.

Strangely (or not), as of now, I feel like His answer is that we are free to choose; that it’s okay for me not to choose Chinese or Spanish for practical/futuristic reasons, but instead to choose, say, French because of its beauty.

Even stranger (or not) is that as soon as I began praying about it, Vivienne began asking me about the American Sign Language she saw on our beat-up VHS copy of Christmas Eve On Sesame Street. “What’s this, Mommy?” she’s been asking as she imitates Linda’s hands about taking Christmas with you all through the year. I don’t know if sign language opens the same dormant portals of the brain as auditory languages do, but I do know that using our hands to communicate language opens portals of the heart that auditory languages don’t. Perhaps we’ll pursue a bit of both here on Hickory Road…


Do any of my five faithful commenters (or others!) have wisdom on this matter?






5 responses to “how do you say…?”

  1. Jan Avatar

    well, I’m going to borrow wisdom from my friend Hilary’s blog – she has a great quote on there that reads “there is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one”

    I personally am not the type of mom to worry about dormant areas of the brain. BUT, if you are – then it certainly can’t hurt anything to tap them with a second language.

    Harrison’s Pre-K class has a 1/2 hour of Spanish once a week, just enough to count to ten and find a bathroom- HA! I think this gets my vote, unless you are truly ambitious and want to try Arabic, which would really make Viv employable 😉

  2. Ryan Avatar

    And remember, Daddy had a few semesters of ASL in college – I think there **might** be a video tape somewhere.

  3. Noelle Avatar

    I know a little ASL too. It’s a beautiful expression of language. As to any language including ASL, I’d say go for it, if you want! (I must say, though, you are ambitious.) Most Moms don’t even consider that type of thing!
    I love your heart as a Mom, Laura! God bless!

  4. admin Avatar

    Thanks, friends! So, Noelle and Ryan, I expect you to brush up on some signs and pass them along to the little V! In the meantime, I’ll be borrowing some materials from the library and buying some beautiful other-language music as a start. I can’t wait to listen to a CD called “Songs in French for Children” and other beautiful resources that I’ve been drooling over…

  5. admin Avatar

    Oh, and my mom suggested Russian… fewer resources, but plenty of possible Russian relationships in State College (especially through the Russian church and two of my former students…) Any thoughts?

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