As a first generation Mexican- American, I feel strongly about making sure that my children learn about their culture and the language that accompanies it. I hear it all of the time from my parents, “Lisa, deberías estar enseñando a los niños Español. Si estás en casa con los niños, solo les deberías de hablar español. De todos modos aprenderán Inglés en la escuela.”
This translates to “You should be teaching the kids Spanish and Since you’re home with the boys, you should only be speaking Spanish. I admit, it sounds kind of mom “shame-y”, but in our passionate language, it’s meant to be motivational and encouraging.
My proud Latina self does feel guilty because my first language is a beautiful thing. That’s right- English isn’t my first language. I learned it preschool because all that was spoken at home and throughout my family was Spanish. This is why it is so easy for my parents to say those things.
I promise that none of this is for lack of trying. I just find it to be a challenge where we are in North Carolina. From what I’ve encountered here, not many people speak it or encourage it. Spanish speakers aren’t a majority in our town. It isn’t like California where you can stretch your arm out and touch someone who speaks the language. By the way, don’t do that, It’s creepy.
I do believe that my kids should know something and it would mean the world to me to have them be able to communicate with their grandparents and great aunts, uncles, etc. in both languages. Being bilingual is a gift and one we are very proud of. I’m sure that if we were back home, it would be a different story, but for now, I will have my Nescafe in hand, a Spanish kid station on Pandora and a Spanish preschool playlist on Youtube while we scour the world for books that we can all relate to.
If you’re interested in teaching your kids Spanish, here are a few of my kid’s favorites to make learning fun for your littles!