The Glass Darkly

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Language and Culture

So my daughter needs ESL support and my son still doesn't get American sports. It seems some things kids pick up so fast, almost by osmosis, and then other things, even when you attempt to teach and explain time and time again, they don't get it. Sometimes makes me wonder what kind of teacher I am or perhaps how conscientious of a parent I may or may not be. Also reminds me of the value of good friends and school teachers who will play integral parts in my children's development. Maybe learning which takes place on "neutral ground," away from nagging parents takes root faster????

I am thankful for a school district with such good experience with young English language learners. Since most of my ESL experience has been with older youth and young adults, I look forward to learning how such programs can support children at young ages. It is hard for me to know what language mistakes may be normal for a particular age vs. being a learning difficulty vs. the obstacle of language itself.

"The girl in the house playing." "The bunny eating 'that.'" What is that? "that."

And as far as sports, how can I encourage my son when I am certainly not unbiased and also find few opportunities for exposure. My husband remembers MK's returning to the US for Middle School after spending most of their childhood abroad. They did not know the rules to baseball or most sports for that matter. How out of it they felt. Now I feel that a bit and even more for my son whose friends are all into particular sports teams and watching pro-games on TV. Unlike most people where I live now, I really do not like American football at all and don't really get excited about watching baseball either. I love international football, but am now limited to reviewing stats online, something my son cannot get excited about yet.

He really enjoyed watching a volleyball tournament recently and we have watched some field hockey games/track meets/football games at the school nearby. I suppose he will catch on; he has many years to learn. But sports is definitely a magnet in this culture and I guess I need to adapt as a parent too! Someone just asked me the other day when we were going to start him on a T-ball team . . . hadn't even crossed my mind! Whether or not we decide to take the plunge into this cultural stream, we as parents still have so much to learn so that we can skillfully answer our son when he asks why he "can't do things like all this friends."

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Tears of an Immigrant Family

I look out my window
And what do I see
Showers of cherry blossoms
Falling toward me.

Their story like tears
Weeping in the winds
The season of life
Its beauty now rescinds.

The tears of many
Like cherry blossoms fall
As the reality of America
On immigrants befall

The beauty of life
The security of home
The completeness of family
One is never alone

A family, a village
One hardly can see
How essential and helpful
To parents it be

Rather, America, the land
Of the brave and the free
Splits parents from children,
Who adapt quickly

New home, new schools
New language and culture
Mom can’t catch on
Dad can’t hardly cope either

The rhythm of life
Is broken and bent
The children don’t realize
The parents resent

When the social support
Of one’s life is amiss
The joy of America
Becomes turmoil, not bliss

The immigrant family
Can’t explain the pain
Silent tears fall
Like blossoms in the rain.