Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Little Seed That Could

When I was 18, my uncle John got me my first college job working  for Riggs bank. One of my co-workers was a Nicaraguan gentleman named Jose. He was married to a lovely Kuwaiti woman. Jose and his wife had a little boy and though I can't remember his name, I do remember being fascinated by this child because, despite being only four or five years old, he was fluent in four languages: English, Spanish, Arabic, and French.  I watched--or, more to the point, I listened--to him play and talk with his parents in the stately, marble-columned lobby when he would come visit his father at the bank.  

I made a mental note for my future: Produce adorable multilingual geniuses.

When the future finally arrived, I had forgotten about Jose and his son, as well as my mental note to provide the world with multilingual cuties. Writing this, it seems impossible that marrying a Latino didn't spark the memory, but I guess I was distracted by all the birthing and child-rearing and homeschooling.  

But my point is this: As I woke up this morning, I realized that the idea to raise multilingual children wasn't planted 6 months ago when I did a Google search and found Language Stars.  It wasn't planted 14 months ago, when my sister, Erin, returned from earning her TEFL certification in Barcelona and explained the importance of starting foreign language studies in elementary school. 

No, the idea was planted years and years ago, when I was barely not a child myself. When I was still 10 years away from meeting my husband and nearly 20 years away from having my youngest child!

Recognizing how long this little seed laid dormant, buried beneath other dreams and priorities, quietly waiting to be remembered, I'm more grateful than ever for the past 5 months that it was nurtured into growth through our lessons at Language Stars with Clèmentine.  She has become much more than just a French teacher to us:  She is a part of our family story that, as I now see it, has been 24 years in the making. 

The girls playing Language Stars and singing "Bonjour, Les Amis!" with their stuffed animals and intermittently arguing over whose turn it was to "be" Clèmentine.

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