Sunday, April 27, 2008
Has It Come To This?
Has it come to this? Have my children finally stepped over to the dark side? The one where all I hear is English, English, English all day long?
My children still speak German with me and my husband. I can revel in that joy (thank goodness) but that is about where it ends. Outside of the Mama-Papa sphere, English has taken over my children like an annoying virus.
My oldest insists that knights only speak English and therefore feels it is important to speak English when he is being a knight (which is pretty much 24/7 these days). My husband responds with a clearly worded (German) defense about how the shows my son has watched or books that he has read about knights have been translated from German or French or Spanish (etc.) into English. HAH, isn't my husband a tricky guy? He argues that the true language of knights are not English and therefore my son is not being completely authentic.
Ok, let's stop here to accept the fact that my husband is completely tinkering with the mind of our 6 year old - all in the name of language preservation! What will my son say to himself later down the road when he reads about all of those English-speaking knights in the British Isles? Will he turn to my husband and say, "Papa, I have lost all respect. It is over. I will never trust you again. You lied to me when I was 6 and you will forever have to bear the pain of that lie." Or will he simply throw it into the pile with the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy (we have yet to add her to our repertoire of fantasy figures who will one day be dispelled) once he learns the truth about them?
Aside from the fact that my husband told a blatant lie to my son to encourage him to speak German, it still didn't work. My son doesn't buy into that kind of weak argument. He is 6 years old and wants proof. We do have ONE book in German about knights which could be used as some kind of proof but what's the point, the English books win out 100 to 1 every time.
My husband feels frustrated and deflated. Course, that is what he gets for trying to win a battle of wits with his own 6 year old son!
I, on the other hand, focus on that age-old method of encouragement: when I hear English spoken between the kids, I call out "Hey, what about German?" Or, "Wouldn't it be fun to also play together in German?" But what is the use? To obtain the desired effect, my kids first have to hear me (HAH, like that will ever happen) and then I have to capture their hearts with my loving appeal which is hard to accomplish since they are still in the "what will I get out of it" stage of life.
The truth is, this is where our best laid out plans go their own merry way and we can't really do much about it other than try to steer things in a general direction.
For example, I insist that they speak with me in German by simply not responding when they speak to me in English (which is extremely rare so I can still go about it in a humorous, fun way). And I still continue to speak German with them (although, I do have to admit that I mix in a good amount of English words when I don't know the German equivalent).
I also know that in the end it is about enjoying the ride.
My husband and I are on the next stage of the roller coaster ride... things aren't as bumpy as before but we are still reminded that we haven't made it back to the platform either. We gotta keep our hands on the rail but other than that, wow, isn't this fun!? Wheeee!