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Deeper Inspiration

My Friend Died and Left Behind This Important Message For Us All

My friend died this week. He was no older than me, but I’m afraid he was unable to overcome personal difficulties that damaged his health and finally ended his life. I don’t wish to dwell on his troubles, though. Instead, I want to celebrate his great kindness and generosity. The warm, amiable spirit he extended to the world was a blessing to the lives of so many. Though he and I gradually lost touch over the years, the fact that

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A Powerful Perspective on Raising Bilingual Children: The Great “Iceberg” of Bilingualism

My son is 9 and the other day I gave him a simple writing task, as part of our daily homework routine, to help stretch his ability in English, our minority language. But as it turns out, I found the results quite revealing in terms of our entire bilingual journey together. The simple task involved making a list of things of a certain color; in this case, a list of 10 things that are black. That was all. I offered

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How Far Into the Future Do Your Efforts Today Matter?

My family and I were looking at old photographs last night and made an astonishing discovery. My father’s father—my grandfather and my children’s great-grandfather—was born on June 28, 1904. Given the fact that the time in Japan is always one day ahead of the United States, the date of my daughter’s birth—June 29, 2004—means that Lulu and her great-grandfather were born exactly 100 years apart.

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Free E-Book for Parents Raising Bilingual Children from Adam Beck, the Founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo

In spring 2014, I released the e-book Instant Inspiration for Parents Raising Bilingual Kids. The response to this unique resource was very positive and I’m so thankful to all those who made a contribution, in exchange for the e-book, to help support my work at Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo. As promised, 100% of these funds have gone toward maintaining and enhancing these two websites. Meanwhile, I’ve also heard from some parents who wanted a copy of the e-book

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This Might Be the Very Best Thing About Raising Bilingual Kids (And It’s Probably Not What You Expect)

There are many good things about raising bilingual children. In my case, with my kids now 10 and 8, these include… Communicating with my children in my mother tongue and sharing the joys of this language with them Seeing them communicate with family members and others who don’t speak our majority language Giving them the gift of two languages, an ability that can positively impact their lives in so many ways These are tremendous benefits, and we’ve been blessed to

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37 Zen Sayings for Parents Raising Bilingual Kids

One underlying reason I enjoy living in Japan is the spirit of Zen. Now that I have a family, I no longer read about Zen Buddhism as much or sit quietly to meditate each morning. But the spirit of Zen is still with me, day after day, inside and out. Today I’ve written 37 “Zen sayings” for parents raising bilingual children. Try reading each one slowly, reflecting on the words. Even close your eyes and repeat it softly in your

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What You Don’t Know About François Grosjean

The other day I received a message from François Grosjean. Most people, I think, know only the professional side of Dr. Grosjean: eminent psycholinguist and international authority on bilingualism; author of masterful books and articles in this field; blogger of Life as a Bilingual at the Psychology Today website; and professor emeritus at the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. What most people don’t know is François Grosjean’s remarkable personal story, including the fact that this man, who has accomplished so

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Why Your Bilingual Child is Tied, Profoundly, to Hiroshima and Peace

On top of a monument in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park stands the bronze statue of a young girl, arms raised toward the sky, holding aloft a large paper crane. The girl’s name is Sadako Sasaki and she served as the inspiration for the Children’s Peace Monument. Sadako Sasaki died at the age of 12, ten years after the atomic bomb exploded in the sky above Hiroshima on the morning of August 6, 1945—exactly 69 years ago today. At the time,

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8 Meditations on Time and the Art of Raising a Bilingual Child

My birthday was on Sunday. I turned 52. It’s hard to believe, because it doesn’t seem so long ago that I was flying around the house like a super hero, a pair of underwear pulled over my head like a mask. Wait, that was last night. The truth is, my age is actually the average of the age of my mind and the age of my body. In other words, I’m now a 12-year-old boy inside a 92-year-old man. (I

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It’s Not About How Hard It Is, It’s About How Hard You Try

I empathize, deeply, with how hard it can be to maintain sufficient support for the minority language, day after day, year after year. And this is especially true if, like me, your children attend school in the majority language and yet your hopes for their language ability are high: not only do you want them to communicate well in the minority language, you’d like them to have strong skills in reading and writing, too. Recently, though, an experience with my

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Haircuts, Soap Bubbles, and the Whole Meaning of Life in Under 700 Words

Sometimes creating a blog post is a conscious process—it’s something I plan and put effort into writing. At other times, though—like this time—it’s almost as if life is telling me what to write, and I just follow orders. And when that happens, whatever posts I had already been working on must stand aside for a moment and let this new post speak. Six years This week I got a haircut. Once a month, for the past six years, I go

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