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Deeper Inspiration

Thank You Letter from a Bilingual Child: Tatyana Leskowicz

Dear Mom and Dad, How could you?! There I was, trying to bare my teenage soul to you about the latest tragedy in my life, and you didn’t care! “I no speaky English” you said in what by then must have been the family motto. You speaky! I know you do, I’ve seen you do it! Yet you stood there and slowly supplied me with the Russian words I didn’t know or didn’t remember, insisting that I use them. And

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Thought Experiment: What Will Your Children Remember Most About You?

Try this little thought experiment… You’re now dead and your grown children are sitting around the kitchen table, talking about you (in the minority language, let’s hope). Your spirit is hovering above them, listening. What do you hear? What are your children saying as they reminisce about the years you spent together on this earth? Will they be recalling how serious you were about helping them become bilingual? How much hard work you put into nurturing their language development? Maybe

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The Power of Using the Minority Language to Help Others

Today I’d like to follow up on my last post, When You Feel a Lack of Support for Your Bilingual Journey from the People Around You. In that article, I mentioned three ways to raise awareness of the value of bilingual ability and the minority language—whatever the minority language might be. These ideas include emphasizing the positive impact of bilingualism on the human brain, from childhood through old age; pointing out that ability in multiple languages can’t help but enrich

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56 More Inspiring Quotes for Parents Raising Bilingual Children

The Spirit of the Bilingual Quest is a small post, and doesn’t receive as much traffic as other articles on this site, but it makes this very large point: When it comes to raising bilingual children, make no mistake: As important as suitable strategies and techniques are to this quest, they’re ultimately secondary to your desire and determination, your energy and endurance. All the good ideas in the world will be for naught if they’re not firmly grounded in these

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Your Efforts Today Have a Profound Impact on Tomorrow

I had a strange moment today. I was reading aloud to my children at breakfast when this thought abruptly hit me: Here I am, right now, reading to my kids, and the truth is, this small moment in time not only has an impact on them and their language ability, it ultimately has an impact on their children, perhaps even on generations to come. And what’s more, the ripples created by my kids and their descendents, through the use of

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My Son Disappears, I Lose My Mind, and the World is Beautiful

Last weekend there was a festival at a local shrine in our neighborhood. We almost didn’t go—and afterward, I wished we hadn’t—but I gave in when my kids begged me to take them on Sunday evening, after dinner. My wife, though, was weary and wanted to stay home. So Lulu, Roy, and I walked through the dark from our house to the shrine, about 15 minutes on foot. The small shrine sits on top of a hill, and it was

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You Are Not Alone

I have a simple message today: You are not alone. I know it can feel that way at times, especially if you’re the main source of exposure to the minority language in your child’s life. And I know that when you feel alone, the bilingual journey—which is hard in any case—just becomes that much harder. There may even be times at the end of another long, lonely, exhausting day when you lie there in bed and wonder: Can I really

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A Friend of Mine Died

A friend of mine died the other day. The last time I saw him was in December. We bumped into each other at an art exhibition in town—an annual event for children in need we once organized together—and he pulled me aside and said, “Adam, I have cancer. But I’m not ready to die.” This man—he was Japanese and spoke no English—was not only a good partner for the benefit work we began, he was a genuinely good man. He

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What My Hiroshima-Born Children Think About the Atomic Bombing

Sixty-eight years ago today, the city that I now call home became a vast, burnt graveyard. I have lived in Hiroshima for almost 17 years, and my children were born here. Now 9 and 6, they have learned about the history of this city, bit by bit, over the years, but grasping a catastrophe that even adults find difficult to fathom is no easy task for a small child. What do my children think about the atomic bombing, about war,

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Can You See How Quickly Time Is Passing?

For much of June, we were in the U.S., visiting family and friends. This series of articles offers observations of that trip in connection with raising bilingual children. First, please watch this remarkable video from the Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester. He filmed his daughter Lotte once a week, every week, throughout her childhood, then edited the film together and speeded up the footage. The result is a breathtaking record of the child’s growth, from birth to age 13, in a

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Creative Solutions to Challenges Raising Bilingual Children

For much of June, we were in the U.S., visiting family and friends. This series of articles offers observations of that trip in connection with raising bilingual children. My father was an art professor for many years at a small college in northeast Missouri. He taught his students a wide range of fine arts, like drawing, painting, and ceramics, while producing his own work in a house nestled in the woods. Below is the small, pyramid-shaped gallery that he constructed

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