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Deeper Inspiration

Are You Making the Moments with Your Kids Count?

In the aftermath of When You Screw Up Badly as a Parent, my interactions with my children have been on my mind a lot lately. In fact, I touched on this issue in my last newsletter, on Sunday, but the subject continues to tug at me so I thought I’d write about it today at more length. (And if you haven’t subscribed to my free newsletter yet—which offers additional content beyond my blog posts—you can sign up right here.) The

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When You Screw Up Badly as a Parent

I screwed up badly the other day. If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll probably recall these two things about my daughter: Lulu is a bouncy 8-year-old who would much rather be dancing then reading a book. She’s also rather high-strung and has a tendency to burst into tears in moments of frustration. One thing I haven’t mentioned yet—and it’s something I’ll eventually devote a whole post to—are my recent efforts to spark a stronger desire to read in both

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49 Inspiring Quotes for Parents Raising Bilingual Children

Yesterday I was sitting here at my computer when little Lulu, in tears, burst into my office. “What’s wrong?” “I can’t do it!” “Can’t do what?” “Math! I keep getting it wrong! I’ll never be able to do it! Never, never, never!” Lulu, I should explain, is a perfectionist and this trait is the source of regular frustration when it comes to second-grade math. After all, even the brainiest among us struggle with math from time to time. (No doubt

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Gibson, with Roy and Lulu

Venomous Snakes and the Bilingual Child

Not long ago, I shared the idea of serving as a host family for a homestay guest able to speak the minority language in order to help instill the value of this language in the child’s head and heart. You might want to arm yourself with that article, Getting a Bilingual Child to Feel the Value of the Minority Language, before venturing into this post where poisonous snakes lie in wait. Over the weekend, we hosted another international visitor, this

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How Much Passion Do You Have For Raising a Bilingual Child?

In Why Communicating in English with My Kids is So Important to Me, I mentioned the fact that Lulu takes a dance class on Mondays. She seems to have a natural passion for dance—she’s been dancing in the house pretty constantly since the time she was upright—and I’m happy to support this interest. (Although we have to scold her at times because she even bops about while sitting in her chair during meals.) The truth is, my support for Lulu’s

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Hiroshima Interpreters for Peace

A Powerful Way to Inspire a Positive Attitude in Your Bilingual Child

In Getting a Bilingual Child to Feel the Value of the Minority Language, I talk about the importance of promoting a positive attitude toward the target language—in our case, English. After all, if the child doesn’t hold positive feelings toward the minority language, it will be much, much harder to make the sort of strong, steady progress necessary to match the relentless development of the majority language. A positive attitude toward the minority language—a heartfelt grasp of its value—is what

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Why Communicating in English with My Kids is So Important to Me

It’s hard to believe the time has passed so quickly, but I’ve now lived in Japan for 16 years. During this time I’ve encountered more than a few native English-speaking parents, with children attending Japanese schools, who struggle to communicate with their children in their mother tongue. This same difficulty, of course, is faced by parents around the world, in a wide range of minority languages. (See What to Do When Your Bilingual Child Won’t Speak Your Language.) Here in

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Shin's tricycle

Thoughts on Death and Life and the Bilingual Child

Over the weekend we served as the homestay family for a college student from Tuvalu, a tiny island chain in the South Pacific that’s slowly being submerged by rising ocean waters. (Try telling the people of Tuvalu that global warming is a hoax!) I’ll blog more about the value of being a homestay family in another post, but today I’d like to touch on our visit to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. I accompanied the student there on Sunday, before his

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A Special Way to Impact Your Child Years from Now

In my last post, Why Keeping a Journal on Your Kids is So Valuable, I talked about the value of regularly recording your thoughts on your children’s language development, emerging character, and childhood experiences. Fast forward a few decades and that record will become a treasure chest of memories for them as adults. In the same vein, let me offer another idea that comes from a book by one of my favorite writers on education, Parker Palmer. Parker Palmer is

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Journal entry

Why Keeping a Journal on Your Kids is So Valuable

I have a little closet in my home office which holds a big cardboard box. In that box is a pile of old notebooks that contain years and years of scribbling about my life. Here’s an excerpt from May 29, 1989… (It turns out she was an alien and this was the start of a star-crossed intergalactic romance. ) Although I lost the habit as I grew older, and hadn’t kept a journal for a number of years, soon after

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