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My New Year’s Message for Parents Raising Bilingual Children During a Pandemic

My New Year's Message for Parents Raising Bilingual Children During a Pandemic

It’s the very last day of the year 2020. Though this year often felt awfully long, looking back, it now seems to have flashed by like a bad dream.

And yet we’re still dreaming as we enter 2021 and it appears we won’t be able to wake to a less anxious life for some time.

Still, we carry on as best we can (what else can we do?), staying as safe and sane as possible and giving to the world what we’re able, whatever that may be.

You see, our calling to give something to this world, to leave it just a little bit better when we depart than when we arrived, will continue to be the throughline for our lives, no matter the state of the world.

Of course, there are an infinite number of ways to make our mark, to contribute to a better world, and all such actions are of value. The distinction, to me, isn’t in the action itself but in one’s own sense of authenticity in that action. In other words, when the action feels to be an authentic expression of who we are in this lifetime, I believe we’re fulfilling a deeper, soulful desire to align our own spirit with the spirit of the world. Our actions not only serve ourselves, they serve the planet.

In that intersection of the self and the world—the needs of the self and the needs of the world—is where many of us, despite our vastly different life circumstances, have converged:

We are raising bilingual children.

The fact is, sometimes we are too close to this aim in our hectic day-to-day lives to recognize how profoundly fulfilling it is, as an action that supports both our own authenticity and the betterment of the world as a whole.

As we enter the new year, and as we continue to confront both the physical and mental challenges of this nightmarish time in history, do not underestimate the value of your small daily efforts to advance your bilingual aim for your children. Underneath the value for language development, your actions are also the deeper reflection of the authentic life you wish to live and the gift you want to give not only to your children but to the world itself.


4 Responses

  1. Beautifully said Adam. Thank you for all you do and for how you motivate us to keep going in our noble aims to pass on our mother tongue to our kids.
    Wishing you a safe and joy filled 2021.

    1. Arvind, thank you for your kind comment. Your encouraging words encourage me as well in my own efforts. My best bilingual wishes to you and your family, and may the whole world experience healthier, happier days in 2021.

  2. AH! This. Is. So. Beautiful. Thank you Adam for contextualizing our bilingual journeys so poignantly. I love how you connected it with authentic self-expression and a legacy. I’m so grateful for all that you do. Stay strong and prosper.

    1. Deepti, many thanks for your kind comment. In fact (and you probably noticed), these thoughts grew out of our conversation the other day, so I must thank you for that as well. As I mentioned then, the marriage of our personal passions to our bilingual aim, when both are then being fulfilled in rewarding ways (like the podcast), is the height of possibility, I think, for our efforts. This is why creative actions and projects can be of such profound benefit to ourselves, to our kids, and to others out in the world. When all is said and done, and we’re looking back on our bilingual journey from a doddering old age, I suspect it’s these sorts of efforts that we will remember most fondly. :mrgreen:

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Welcome to Bilingual Monkeys!

I’m Adam Beck, the founder of this blog and The Bilingual Zoo, a lively worldwide forum for parents raising bilingual or multilingual kids. I’m also the author of the popular books Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability and Bilingual Success Stories Around the World. I’ve been an educator and writer in this field for 25 years as well as the parent of two bilingual children, now 19 and 16. I hope my work can help empower the success of your bilingual journey.

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