Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The case for teaching my kids to speak Spanish

This post is long overdue... Some friends and family members already know this story - if you have heard it already, feel free to skip it. If you don't know it (or are curious) feel free to read on... I just feel the need to put it in writing perhaps as a remainder of how important it is for me to teach my kids a second language. I want to have some kind of testimony for future reference so my kids know how important is to learn to speak Spanish.
We all know we live in a global society. Even though English is spoken widely around the world having a second language under your belt is very important, especially if you are a travel-fanatic-family like we are.
When we visited France in summer 2010 little Miss V got a fever. This is not the first time this has happened (Once before on a trip to Switzerland and another time on a trip to Italy). I felt confident I could go to a pharmacy to purchase some fever reducing medicine... Surely they speak English, right? But this time, they did not. Confidently I asked (in French) to the employee if she spoke English (pretty much the only phrase I know in French) and she responded, to my surprise "No". Well, I did what any reasonable person would do, turned around and went on my way out to find another pharmacy. Only this time this nice lady grabbed my hand and said what I can only guessed it was "Wait, I can help you". You see, French, has roots in Latin (as does Spanish) so, sometimes I can understand (so I think) a little bit. So, she asked me what is wrong with her. I gestured, she had a fever. So she goes to the back of the store and gets me a bottle. Now, she proceeds to tell me (in French, of course) the dose amount and here is when my mind goes blank... I am freaking out! What is she saying?... I don't want to give my child the wrong dose... It was then, when I frantically said "Parles vous espagnol (do you speak Spanish)?" and the lady said "Si, yo hablo espanol (Yes, yes I do)!"- (insert angels singing here). From here on I was able to confirm her symptoms and understand the dose of the medicine I was going to give her... What a relief! After thanking the pharmacy employee and heading out the door I turn around and told my daughter (in Spanish as I always speak to her)... "Let this be a lesson to you. Never underestimate to power of speaking another language. It could come in handy when you least expect it". That's when she says to me (In English, of course) YES, mami, I know... Sigh...

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