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 the minority language in their lives, will no doubt have an impact on many, many others in the world as well. All this, from such a humble moment!
This is what flashed through my head as I was turning the page in Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang.
A simple reminder
As a long-time teacher, one thing I’ve learned is this: my efforts matter. The fact is, teachers don’t often see the longer-term impact of their efforts on their students—students come and go quickly and rarely reach back to their teachers. But occasionally, when I cross paths with a former student, and I hear about that impact firsthand, it reaffirms for me how my efforts matter—how they’ve always mattered—even when I didn’t have the chance to see the impact directly.
The same is true for our daily efforts as parents of bilingual kids. As minor as these actions may appear, they matter. They matter to the more visible side of this experience: our own children’s language development. And they matter, just as much, to the side we’ll never see: the farther future of our families and, by extension, the world at large.
So don’t ever doubt that your efforts matter—they do, and a great deal more than we usually recognize. This post, then, is a simple reminder to us all of how much we can potentially impact tomorrow through our actions today. When we read a book to our children, or play a game together, or pursue any of a thousand other small efforts, these humble moments matter. Day after day, they matter profoundly.
Adam, I am totally agree with you… Some things the kids don’t recognize all the efforts that we do for them, the discipline, the respect, etc. but when they grow they will say… Thanks, Dad… Claudia
Claudia, in case you haven’t seen it, this touching guest post by Tatyana Leskowicz offers a reassuring perspective for us…
Thank You Letter from a Bilingual Child: Tatyana Leskowicz
I agree. My wee boy learns from me, the good and bad things but all my effort and time trying to teach him Spanish is paid off when he speaks to me in Español. All the, “no entiendo ingles” from me, “I don’t understand English”, for years has worked. My patience and consistency is finally paying off. He would only speak to me now in Spanish no matter who is around or where we are. I am a happy mum of a four and half year old boy!
Maria, thanks for sharing your good news. I’m really happy for you. Yes, patience and consistency are vital qualities for success. Keep up your good efforts, and enjoy your time together in Spanish!
One of the most inspirational talks I’ve listened to recently reiterating that “our efforts/choices matter” and have more impact than we realize is Andy Andrews’ talk on the Butterfly Effect – https://youtu.be/mo6fBAT8f-s. It’s a 9 minute-45 second perspective changer!
Ana Paula, thank you for sharing this link. It’s a powerful talk and I enjoyed it very much. (As an example of how the Butterfly Effect has rippled out into the world, I actually have a children’s book on this idea!)