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As I watch my British-Spanish daughters, now 14 and 12, chat away in English with their British relatives while on holiday in England, I look back at our bilingual journey and feel incredibly proud of what we have achieved. Born and raised in Madrid, Spain, our daughters were initially expected—by us and everyone around us—to become bilingual just by having a British father and a Spanish mother, with no extra effort on the side. However, as we know, “magic bilingualism” does not exist
These days I regularly consult with parents about their bilingual or multilingual aim and, during these conversations, I have the chance to look back at my own journey with my kids and the things that have been most central to our success. While it’s certainly true that every family’s experience is different, and so our efforts should always be tailored as effectively as possible to our own particular situation, I do think there are some very basic and very powerful principles that apply to us all
The vast and needless suffering of the Ukrainian people is absolutely tragic. Yet it’s hard not to feel helpless, on top of our sympathy and outrage, in the face of such tremendous destruction. Whatever support we can offer may seem ridiculously small, but each drop in this sea of need still matters.
I recently shared Marta Garcia’s encouraging guest post Our Successful Playgroup for Minority Language Families and thought I would now follow up by offering the full story of her rewarding experience raising three bilingual children. Her family’s story, along with the inspiring, in-depth stories of 25 other families, is featured in Bilingual Success Stories Around the World: Parents Raising Multilingual Kids Share Their Experiences and Encouragement.
Like so much of the world, here in Hiroshima, Japan I’m following the terrible tragedy now unfolding in Ukraine with feelings of shock and sorrow and helplessness. I know this gesture of support for the people of Ukraine is a tiny drop in a vast ocean of need, but, of course, every uncountable drop in the sea still counts.