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As a parent, you can give your kid one non-negotiable. We chose the gift of language!

Posted by: NJ Kids Contributors - June 16, 2015

Being a parent is not always easy! Figuring out what, how and when to do certain things for your children is not always obvious. Each family has its own culture and each child is a product of its culture, so no two children are alike. Oftentimes, children from the same family differ by preferences and abilities.

Our family is a nice mix; I am a French-Canadian and my husband is Lebanese. We always wanted our child to know those two different cultures. In our home, we mainly speak French with some #Arabic or, like some may say, #Lebanese. Our son learned both languages very early on but the writing and reading part came a little bit later. I was able to teach my son French but Arabic was a little harder. At 7 years old, my son started to learn Arabic at GainVille Learning Center in Rutherford, NJ. During the three years he has been at GainVille, there were ups and downs in his efforts to learn Arabic. Those fluctuations were not because of the school itself, but was due to all the activities that are on his schedule: piano, soccer, hockey, violin, snowboarding in winter, and beach in the summer. We try to make sure we do not overwhelm our son while letting him pick his extracurricular activities. This always needed and still needs discipline and dedication. Learning a language, like learning music, needs commitment from the child and from the parents. Practice at home is necessary to succeed. 

During those three years there were many moments filled with great pride at his learning the Arabic language; there were also many times where both of us as well as our son felt tired and fatigued. It so happened that one year ago our son stopped practicing for a period of time which resulted in us feeling ready to let go and pull the plug. The problem with that was both of us knew that if we did that, not only we would have spent the first two years in vain but also meant that we failed to achieve a goal we had set for our son and ourselves, to teach him the Arabic language. Some adjustment needed to be made with a strong affirmation from my husband and myself that whatever happens, our son will not stop the Arabic classes. This was in his best interest and we knew best!

It is not what you think! We are open-minded parents. There are certain types of activities that we will let our son decide as to whether or not he wants to continue in or not. Arabic language immersion classes was definitely not one of them. We have decided early on that language is not one of those and we made sure everyone was aware of it, our son included. We consider this as a great gift to him for a successful future. Even though our son might not see the importance of or the point in asking him to put a lot of effort in a language that he does not need to succeed at school, we, as parents, will continue to coach him and guide him throughout this language learning process to make sure he will have the basic knowledge of the Arabic language.

Like all parents, we want to provide our child with the best that life has to offer. We instill in him the structure and the focus needed to learn and it is up to him to decide once he is much older what to do with the “seeds” we have planted. Both dedication and perseverance are qualities needed to succeed in helping our son develop his Arabic language skills. Good intention and a clear vision towards his future are what we are using to keep our focus on the best choices that will help him become a global and multicultural individual.

Written by Helene (a Parent Mom @GainVille)

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Posted by: NJ Kids Contributors| June 16, 2015
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