Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Does Language Matter in Raising a Child?

Multi-Ethnicity. Multi-Cultural. Multi-Citizenship.
As a parent to a 3 year old, it is still a struggle deep-within my heart, and my brain, as to which way should I raise my daughter: culture-wise or society-wise. Born American-Canadian, with a dual-citizenship on her dad's side as American-Philippine, our daughter is first and foremost, a true-full-blooded Filipino of ethnicity (both of us parents born Filipino).

But our decisions, so far, on how to raise her, were based solely on our wish to raise her as a good person, with strong faith and eternal love to people around her. For us, the country where she will decide to live is just a place in the map. But how she is going to live her life in that country is very important to us, her parents, because it would manifest the kind of parent that we are.
Language will play a very important role in her life.
One of the reasons why I chose to move back here in Canada is because of Language. Born in the United States, Khloe will forever be an American. When she grow up, I know she will find her way back to her birth country, whichever country I may chose to raise her. But atleast, I know, I tried my best to show her all sides of her citizenship. Here in Canada, she will learn French. With French, she can discover the beauty of this world from another perspective.
At home, we speak our native dialect in Philippines, Ilonggo for me (Iloilo), and Tagalog for my husband (Bulacan). Our daughter was raised with various kinds of language floating around her. Never, even once, did I prohibit her from learning all of it. Instead, I encouraged her to understand us, especially those words that are the same in both dialects. Always with pride in my heart when I see that understanding glint in her eyes every time she responds to us when we converse with her in our dialect. Although I do not forcibly teach her to know the words, our daughter has always been quick in trying to learn. It is my desire that when she goes back home to Philippines, she could communicate with everybody, not just those who speaks English.
It is my fervent wish that Khloe will grow up to be a person who appreciates her roots, her multi-cultural background, her multi-citizenship. I am always proud to be a Filipino. I wish I can impart to my daughter the richness of our Filipino culture, but I know she will have enough on her plate to learn as she grows. But I believe that my inner strength as her Mother will transcend to her personality, and that the manner of how I raise her will instill within her persona,  all the wisdom I learned as I navigated my journey towards motherhood.
I know some will say that it is easy for me to say this because my daughter is born in an English-speaking country. But let me say this....
"It is not the language that you want them to speak that will make them communicate successfully with the rest of the world.....but it is the kind of parent that you are to them, that will let them communicate to others how beautiful this world is in their hearts and minds."
I will forever believe... that our children are who they are because of how we raise them. Our child is a reflection of our parenthood.

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