And suddenly it’s 2015.
Does anyone else feel like life speeds up as you get older? Like the years were decades as a child, and now the years are hardly more than mere days?
My resolutions from last week—sorry, last year—were simply two: seize the day, even stronger and encourage more independent reading.
How did I do? Not bad, overall. Although I’m not always as mindful as I’d like, I do try to be disciplined and give my best effort to each day. And my aim to get my kids reading more in the minority language was reasonably successful, and ended on the high note I described in my last post, Big Breakthrough with My Bilingual Daughter?.
(If you’re curious to first read my resolutions from last year—along with the many resolutions submitted by readers—see My “Bilingual Resolutions” for 2014. Also, I highly recommend Crazy Bilingual Kids Reveal Their New Year’s Resolutions, a funny interview that I did with my kids.)
Well, for 2015, I have six resolutions, some connected to my bilingual journey and some linked to other important aspects of my life. First I’ll share these resolutions—my aims for the upcoming year—and then I’ll describe six ways I think I can help strengthen your efforts as you pursue your own resolutions, your own aims, for 2015.
6 Resolutions for 2015
1. Seize the day, day after day
I know this is the same resolution as last year, but since it’s at the heart of a successful bilingual journey, and a fulfilling life, it will inevitably be my main resolution, year after year. With keen mindfulness, and a proactive spirit, we’re not only better able to nurture our children’s language development, we can advance the other dreams we hold and appreciate our lives more fully. In the end, I think everything revolves around our capacity to make the most of each day we’re given, persistently but playfully.
2. Get my kids reading and writing more in the minority language
Again, this will likely be an annual resolution because literacy is the key to reaching increasingly higher levels of language proficiency. At this point, my kids (now 10 and 7) have sound ability in English, our minority language, including solid literacy for their age, but advancing this literacy level is a never-ending challenge because our time for reading and writing in English is limited.
3. Finish and share my book Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability
I’ve mentioned before that I’m bringing together my thoughts on raising bilingual children by writing a book called Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability. My goal for this book is to provide ideas that will not only help parents achieve success, but maximize that success. After all, language ability is a continuum and progress has no real end. The question is: How far can you and your child go? I’m confident that this book will help propel parents and children farther on their journey.
If you’d like “inside information” on my new book as I get closer to completing it—and have the chance to win a free preview copy, too—just subscribe to this special email list. (Note: This list is separate from my newsletter list and needs an additional subscription.)
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Subscribe to my list for Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability.
4. Maintain and expand Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo
I must admit, I don’t really enjoy the technical side of maintaining my blog and forum. This is a side of my work that you don’t see, but it can be frustrating and costly. And before too long, because the pace of change on the web is making the framework for my blog obsolete, I’m afraid I’ll eventually have to rebuild the entire thing (with a lot of help). Just thinking about it makes my head hurt. In any event, I hope to keep both sites running well through 2015, while expanding my use of audio and video.
5. Support my kids in learning Spanish, and study Spanish myself
A couple of months ago we met a woman from Spain who now lives in Hiroshima with her Japanese husband. We asked her to teach Spanish to Lulu and Roy so they now have lessons twice a month, along with daily homework I assign in a workbook. I don’t speak Spanish myself, so I’m hardly helpful, but I bought a book and I’m trying to learn alongside them. I need to make a better habit of studying every day, though, or I won’t make much progress this year.
6. Publish my novel How I Lost My Ear (And Nearly Got My Whole Head Lopped Off)
A couple of years ago I completed a novel—it’s a comic romp in the spirit of Roald Dahl. I had high hopes for it—it’s the book I wanted to write and I’m proud of it—but when some initial interest from agents didn’t pan out, I set it aside and began this blog. I’m still not sure if I should make another attempt to pursue a traditional publishing path for it, or just publish it on my own, but I’d like to resolve this in 2015.
6 Ways I Can Help You with Yours
1. Read the articles at Bilingual Monkeys.
I began this blog in September 2012 and today marks the 223rd post, including several excellent guest posts. The site offers a wide range of information and advice on the subject of raising bilingual children, based on my own experience as a parent and as a teacher to hundreds more bilingual kids over a period of nearly 20 years. To find information on specific topics, make use of the resource pages (New Parents, The Essentials, etc.) and the search box, both found to the right. Also on the right is the monthly archive, a way to catch up with this blog chronologically.
2. Subscribe to my free weekly newsletter.
Every Sunday, ever since this blog began, I’ve been sending out a weekly newsletter by email. This newsletter is free and is the very best way to keep up with my posts at Bilingual Monkeys and the popular threads at The Bilingual Zoo. In addition, the newsletter often includes content that isn’t found at these sites, further ideas and inspiration for raising bilingual kids. At the same time, there’s a deeper purpose to the newsletter: it serves as a kind of “coach,” providing a weekly reminder of your bilingual goal to help you stay as conscious and proactive as possible in your daily efforts. If you’re not already receiving the newsletter, don’t miss out! (You can unsubscribe at any time.)
3. Join me and other friendly “keepers” at The Bilingual Zoo.
I opened The Bilingual Zoo just six months ago, in July 2014, and this forum has quickly become a warm, lively community for “keepers” of bilingual kids. As of this moment, there are 231 members, with locations and languages that span the world, and a total of 240 threads and 1,214 posts. The Bilingual Zoo is not only a source of useful information and advice from other parents and teachers, it also serves as a place of support and encouragement. Moreover, by making regular use of the site, we’re able to strengthen our personal efforts, becoming more conscious and proactive from day to day, the very qualities that produce greater success over time.
Access to the forum is available to all, and the content can be read freely, though only members can post to the forum boards—but becoming a member is free, too, and it’s a simple sign-up process. (Just click on “Register” at the upper right of The Bilingual Zoo homepage.)
At the same time, each January I ask for voluntary contributions, from both members and readers of The Bilingual Zoo, to help maintain and enhance the community. I won’t have my children track you down and bite your ankles if you don’t contribute, but your support is needed and appreciated. If this community benefits you, and you’d like to see it last, please show your support by making a modest contribution this month. (And get some special rewards in return!)
4. Get personal coaching with me via Skype.
This month I’m launching a new feature: personal coaching via Skype. If you’d like some direct support in maximizing your children’s bilingual development, I’d be happy to discuss your situation in detail and provide my best guidance and encouragement. And to mark the start of this personal coaching, I’m offering a much lower rate until February 14—but you needn’t use your coaching session right away. Take advantage of the lower rate now and your coaching session can take place anytime within one year from the date of purchase. It’s up to you when you’d like to speak with me!
5. Get special “bilingual products” at Bilingual Style.
The items at my online shop are not only fun and useful, they’re designed to:
- Celebrate your family’s bilingual (trilingual/multilingual) identity, while promoting positive feelings toward bilingualism in your children.
- Support your success at raising bilingual children by keeping you conscious of your goal and proactive your day-to-day efforts.
A child’s T-shirt from Bilingual Style is much more than a cool shirt: it’s a symbol of your identity and your dream. When worn by the child, the shirt serves a powerful purpose by deepening that important identity and reminding you to keep up your efforts to realize that heartfelt dream. In this way, clothing, coffee mugs, and more become special “charms” that will help fuel your success—and add to your fun—on the bilingual journey. (Plus, your purchases help support my work because the small profits I make from this shop go toward my expenses for running the blog and forum.)
6. Share your resolutions and I’ll follow up by email.
If you share your own resolutions below, in a comment, I’ll follow up by emailing you in a few months to see how you’re doing. By stating your resolutions publicly like this, and then anticipating a personal message from me, I think you’ll strengthen your commitment and raise the odds of success. And this will only cost you the time it takes to write your comment. In exchange for my support, I only ask that you do your honest best to follow through on your resolutions. So I won’t respond to your comment here, but know that I’ll be cheering for you and I look forward to hearing some positive developments when I email you in the spring.