Language, language, language.
There is not a day that goes by where the role of learning a new language doesn’t arrive without its gang of relatives and positive outcomes. We don’t just learn a new language, we must adapt to the reality of wherever that language is spoken at, and at the same time instruct our children on some form of behavioral routines like those that children follow where that language is spoken. We learn English here in the United States of America and we must follow the rules our parents set for us, the rules the schools set for us, the rules that habits and social expectations set for us. Why would that need to be any different when learning French or Spanish, or any other language? Exactly my point.
When I see Jewish; Muslims, Africans and Latin people walking in the streets in Montreal it reminds me of that significant reality of integration, where we learn that no matter how difficult a culture is to understand, there are always ways to find some form of common ground. Visually we tend to be a bit judgmental about some cultural differences, we evaluate how they behave, even while we deny it there is an inner observation of differences that happens and we become very touched by them. But, with language there is a field of cognitive and emotional awareness that touches us a little differently. A field where we learn to want to be more pro unification, more accepting. Language does that, it brings together that inner willingness to want to be part of something greater than anything we have experienced before. Some psychologist like to think that unless your start dreaming in the new language you are learning, that language itself has not reached the level of your subconscious where you start introvertedly developing feelings for this new language and its seven or ten relatives. So there is a subjective link that builds up within us, making us more sympathetic to other cultures.
Visually we differentiate easily, as we all have our own ways of maintaining our own appearances, styles that sometimes set us apart or make us part of a circle, like the way the Jewish, or some Africans dress, or the Gothic kids at school. That visual trademark puts us already within that obvious preconceived way that our minds have been trained to see. But this is how our societies have developed a language with the tendency to group everyone, based on their beliefs, background, likes and preferences.
When my children play in a park with Hispanic children they have a hard time adapting to them at first, but it doesn’t take long before they start following what they are seeing, responding to their questions and even creating games that involved the other children. In Quebec, when we visit, it is the same, it usually takes five minutes or so before they become more active, more engaged, more involved with the French speaking children.
What language does for our family goes way beyond any previous idea we had about differences, because it is the coming together of so many circumstances where our families three main languages are used that we see the abundant enriching experiences it brings to us. We like to expose ourselves throughout our days to as much global connectedness as we can. It has a nourishing effect in our lives, the same way studying the forest life and its diversity affects the Naturalist, we also, are affected by exposing ourselves to the integration of cultures and their different languages.
The essential tools for any child to move forward in his life involves very simple things. First is the ability to learn new things that can help him or her face difficult circumstances. Secondly is the development of communication skills, so they can express how they feel and when they need to be protective of themselves and others, gaining self-respect and helping others to do the same. Another tool is the respectful tendencies they learn habitually, when they see how their parents accept differences, helps them to realize that differences of opinion, beliefs and desires from those they meet is an opportunity to integrate themselves to other truths, other cultures and ways of being.
Language, language, language. It intertwines beautifully all of the essential tools cited above as it provides that field for everyone to move into creating a global awareness beyond any old set ideas about cultural integration; even if this new person you are getting to know is someone from your own country but from a different region. Let languages and its gang of relatives enhance how the world moves through you, we are all on this beautiful planet like species traveling in a living organism, nothing can be more real than that.