Monday, February 17, 2014
Decision and priority
This is my third blog but I have yet to blog about how we have raised our children bilingual. The reason is that there is something more fundamental than the particular ways we raised our children. It is the decision we made and the priority we give to raise our children bilingual.
In the age of helicopter parents, tiger mothers, and over-scheduled childhood, it is not unusual for children to spend hours after hours every week on some academic or extracurricular activities, be it math, an instrument, a sport, art, etc.. In this increasingly competitive and globalized world, I think we, as parents, try to balance the utilitarian aspect of their upbringing and the joy of childhood and life.
When our daughters were born, we decided that we would try our very best to make Chinese one of their forte. If they can learn Chinese to ~ 5-6th grade level, it can be a skill that they can use for decades to come and can benefit their own children as well. Unless they have particular talent and inclination for another area and the two conflict in terms of resource utilization (time, money, man-power, etc.), we would devote more of our resources to their Chinese, especially since things like math can wait a little without affecting the long term path of the child. After all, I suspect most of us don't use higher level math or make a living playing piano, violin, or basketball (Jeremy Lin did show particular inclination for basketball, at least that's my understanding. He also went to Harvard... What a guy!).
So, I attribute our success in our Chinese program so far not just to the resources we fortunately have (like parents in Taiwan willing to care for them for a few months a year) but to our determination to make learning Chinese a major priority in their young life.