Afterward, though, as I was picking up the other entries, and again reading the heartfelt resolutions, I changed my mind about the drawing… Instead of 10 winners, I’ve decided to make everyone a winner! That’s right! Everyone who entered the giveaway and shared their “bilingual resolutions” for 2014 in the comments below will receive my “mysterious new resource” when it’s ready!
At this point, I’m aiming for March, so if all goes well, I’ll be contacting each winner then to present your prize. My hope is that this unique resource will help empower your efforts and enable you to fulfill your resolutions for this year. (I’ll also make the resource available to everyone else after receiving some feedback from the winners of this giveaway.)
The start of this new year is an ideal time for reflecting on the year behind us and resolving to strengthen our efforts in important ways over the year ahead.
One year ago, my main resolution for 2013 was to be more proactive and persevering, especially in response to dissatisfying results. (By the way, if you’re curious to learn how I spend every New Year’s in Japan—including why I roam through old, crumbling graveyards during this time—just see that post.)
How did I do with my resolution in 2013? Well, I’d give myself a “B” (and I’m being kind).
The truth is, I don’t always make the best use of my time. Over the course of the year, I squandered far too many hours through a lack of firm attention and commitment to my higher priorities.
What, then, are my resolutions for 2014 in connection with my kids and their bilingual development? And what sort of prize can you win—there will be 10 winners!—for sharing some of your own resolutions in a comment below?
Making conscious vows
No matter how you feel about the trite idea of “New Year’s Resolutions,” let me suggest that making conscious vows to strengthen your efforts when it comes to your children’s language development is always a good thing and should be a persistent part of your bilingual journey.
In my case, blogging has come to serve this purpose well, as I’m continuously looking at aspects of my own journey that I might strengthen in certain ways, and then reporting on my experiences in these posts. Moreover, the fact that I do this quite publicly makes me feel far more accountable for my action (or lack of action!) than I otherwise would if I was simply declaring my intentions privately. And because I feel more accountable, I work harder at this aim.
I realize, of course, that not everyone will want to share their resolutions for 2014 below—and that’s perfectly okay—but I suspect that if you make use of this opportunity to state your vows publicly, you’ll feel a deeper sense of accountability, which could help fuel your efforts this year. (And remember, you could win a great prize, too!)
My “bilingual resolutions”
First, though, I give you my own “bilingual resolutions” for 2014…
1. Seize the day, even stronger
If you’ve been following this blog, you already know that “seizing each day” is at the heart of the life I strive to lead, both as a person and as a parent of bilingual kids. At bottom, I believe that living a fulfilling life, and making solid progress on the bilingual journey, are tied to the same basic ideal: mindfully seizing each day and doing our best to make that day count when it comes to our higher priorities.
The thing is, unless we happen to be a Zen master who fully inhabits the present moment, there’s always room for improvement in this quest to consciously command the day, and that’s certainly true in my case (as evidenced by my “B” in 2013). And so I resolve, for 2014, to make progress in this essential area (at least a “B+”), awaking each morning with one vital, single-minded thought: Seize the day.
2. Encourage more independent reading
At this point, my children have become competent readers for their respective ages (9 and 6), and I continue to read aloud to them each morning in English, our minority language, and pursue “shared reading” with them later in the day (where we read other books, taking turns, page by page). Although I’m pleased with this routine, the fact that they attend a Japanese elementary school, and have a substantial amount of Japanese homework each day, leaves them with little time and energy for further, independent reading in English.
However, I’ve experienced a recent breakthrough in this area by adding to our collection of graphic novels (comic books). In fact, Santa brought us a tall stack of graphic novels for Christmas, and my kids consumed them even more quickly than I expected. (I’ll devote a whole post to graphic novels soon.) My sense is, if I can keep a fresh supply of appealing books like these on our shelves, that even amid the busy school week they’ll probably be tempted to pick them up. And so I resolve, for 2014, to continually seek out good graphic novels that can move my kids to read more in the minority language.
While my first resolution reflects what I see as the bedrock for long-term success on the bilingual journey—one’s spirit—my second resolution concerns the practical level of strategies and resources, which naturally also demands our attention. To my mind, our most effective efforts are a strong marriage of these two realms: our spirit and our practical actions.
Because our spirit has so much to do with our success—and yet I rarely see this issue addressed in terms of raising bilingual kids—I’ve been working on a top-secret project. I’m developing a unique resource that’s expressly designed to empower the spirit of parents raising bilingual children. (I don’t want to say too much about it now—a little mystery will make this more fun.)
And by simply sharing your resolutions below, you’ll have a chance to win this mysterious resource! That’s the prize in this giveaway, and there will be 10 lucky winners! (I’ll hopefully have it ready within the next few months, to help you sustain your resolutions for this year!)
Entering the giveaway
To enter the giveaway, just follow these simple steps…
1. Entry is open to all subscribers of my free newsletter. If you’re already a subscriber, romp right ahead to step 2. If you’re not yet a subscriber, just click the big link below to enter your name and email address. The weekly newsletter is an important part of my efforts to encourage parents to stay as conscious and proactive as possible, day by day. (You can learn more about the newsletter—as well as the fun download for subscribers—at the Subscribe page.)
2. Leave a comment below with this information:
2. Your children’s ages (Example: Girl, 7; Boy, 4)
3. Your two (or more) languages (Example: Spanish and English)
4. What are your two (or more) biggest resolutions for 2014, in terms of your efforts to raise bilingual children? (Feel free to make resolutions about things related to spirit, or things involving the practical side of strategies and resources. As I did, be sure to tell us your thinking behind these resolutions with some explanation. Also, please proofread your comment, before submission, to check that the information is complete.)
3. All entries must be submitted by the morning of Saturday, January 25 (Japan time). On that day, the comments will be printed out and cut apart to serve as entry slips for the drawing. This time, though, the drawing won’t involve our big tub of Lego. Instead, I’ll spread the slips over the floor, put my kids (blindfolded) in the center, spin them around madly, then have them grope about and pick one. We’ll do this 10 times (really!), and Lulu and Roy will take turns choosing the 10 winners. As promised, each winner will receive my new resource for parents, when it’s ready. (All I ask of the winners is that they offer some feedback about it before I share it with the wider world.)
Although I won’t respond to your resolutions here, don’t be surprised if I appear later via email (or on your doorstep) to ask: So how’s it going, fellow parent? (Just to help keep you accountable as the year rolls on!)
Thanks for sharing your resolutions! (And if you’d like to explore my many posts on the subject of spirit, please see the Deeper Inspiration page.)