Early learning of a language equals Tiger Mom?

By Ricardo Cuevas on January 11, 2012 in Learn Spanish for Kids with 3 Comments

I get a house visit from the Electric company, he’s going to be checking out my house as to why our electric bill is so high. I’d recently received a letter in the mail stating that my house was spending more than the average household in my area, so I decided to have them come out and do an audit on my house to see if there were any areas for improvement. As I’m talking to the auditor he tells me that he’s having a baby soon, so I immediately go into the evils of Johnson & Johnson and Apple Juice. Those are my classic two subjects. I begin to tell him about the research that’s been done on quaternium-15, a chemical that releases the preservative formaldehyde and how Johnson & Johnson has just now agreed to start phasing it out of their baby products. Then I jump into the poisons found in Apple juice and my recently acquired love of “juicing” (not the kind seen on Jersey Shore). After some conversation, I can tell he’s really interested in this topic as he sits down on the sofa and starts sharing some of his own concerns. Great conversations, he’s thankful for the information I gave him and gives me some good tips on electricity. Then, my son wakes up from his nap and starts talking to Mr. Electricity (we’ll conceal his name) in English and then switches to Spanish when speaking to me. Mr. Electricity is very impressed with my son’s ability to switch so smoothly in between them and makes a comment to that effect. So he starts asking me some questions about how I’ve done this and I start sharing about our practices, Kid Start Spanish, and the cognitive benefits of learning a new language at an early age (while being exposed to the native language). After some conversation he tells me that this is great for me, but he doesn’t believe in “pushing” a child. He goes on to talk about how children should play and enjoy their childhood. He doesn’t believe in all this early education/Tiger mom stuff (I took a bit of offense to being put on the same level as Tiger mom but I let it slide in order to try to stay on topic). He believes we are robbing our children of their childhood and that they’ll have plenty of time to be “weighed down” by learning to read and bilingualism later in their life. I assured him that this was not the first time I’d heard his argument. And then I stated that I AGREED. He couldn’t believe it. The sense of accomplishment in his face was palpable. Then, I went on to clarify my position. I agree that you shouldn’t weigh down children with this obligation. But, in my experience I’ve never seen children in other countries such as Canada walking around looking down and sad because they spoke two languages and could read multiple languages. Then I asked him, how could he explain my son’s “apparent” happiness. To which he said, “Your son doesn’t know any better”. I replied, “Ok, and neither do millions of children around the world as 53% of the world’s population is bilingual.” Then I told him “you see, when it’s taught by the child’s parent, it really ISN’T punishment and it doesn’t “weigh them down”. I asked Mr. Electricity, “Would you believe he looks forward to watching his programs at home, playing bilingual games, and practicing our flash cards?” He replied, “Yes, I can believe that”. I then went on to explain how much my son loves it and the fact that I know my son better than a teacher so I have an inherent advantage in teaching my son. I explained how I actually feel sorry for teachers who have to deal with kids that haven’t been exposed to learning concepts early in their life. These teachers are responsible for teaching a child new concepts at the time same time the child is getting acquainted with schedules, friends, bullies, packed lunches and everything else that is involved in a child’s educational experience. “Wouldn’t it be nice if you could develop a child’s love for learning early on? So that when the child arrives for his first day of school, he’s already acclimated with learning and has a positive perception of learning? Rather than having learning be associated with discipline, quietness, time-out corners and the likes? Exactly!” After this he agreed, and went on to say that he will be talking to his wife about early learning. I told him that’s exactly my goal, for people to start talking about early learning. Not everyone can dedicate a ton of time to educating their child early, I also don’t believe everyone is going to want to teach their child Spanish (there ARE other languages out there 🙂 ) But when you do find some time you can squeeze in. Early learning will definitely pay off. By the way, my house is actually below average for my neighborhood, the numbers I received in the mail were incorrect.

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