Tuesday, October 12, 2010

9 kids; 3 languages

Over the weekend I had nine kids, including my own, playing at my house. What a crowd! We played ball, rode bikes, drew with sidewalk chalk and ate cookies. Yes, I played too! What a ball it was to have all these kids ranging in age from 1 to 10 playing together.

Only later did it dawn on me just how diverse these kids were apart from their ages. Of the nine kids at my house there were three different languages represented. All the kids spoke English; English is my poor uneducated kids only language.

On one side of our house live these two sisters; ages 8 and 2. Their cousin was over playing too. Although the girls' parents speak Spanish with limited English, the girls speak English very well. I know they can understand Spanish but I'm not sure if they speak it. 

On the other side of our house is a German Mennonite family, not to be confused with Mennonites. I'm not sure what the difference is yet but one of these days I'll figure it out. 

The blonde girl drawing above is 10 and is the aunt of the two blonde boys below.
This little guy is 5.

And this is his little brother who is 3 going on 21. I swear this little dude doesn't think there is anything he can't or doesn't have the right to do! He is 200% wild boy; thank goodness he's not mine.

The little blond boys mother speaks fluent English and German and I hear her speaking German to her boys all the time. Now if you know how an average 3 yr. old speaks you know sometimes it can be difficult to understand their pronunciation of words. The funny thing about this little guy is not only does he speak like an average 3 yr. old but he mixes English and German words together when he talks to me. Then he looks at me like I'm an idiot because I don't understand him. Give me a break kid, I'm still learnin'.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think rural Kansas would hold such diversity.
There are many aspects within these three little families on our block that creates diversity other than just our languages. Whereas I'm still trying to come with terms of the various cultures, religions, lifestyles and languages represented between us, all 9 of these children seem to accept it without question. Even my boys, who've rarely been around people who weren't Caucasian English speakers, have no questions or qualms about accepting and playing with kids from other cultures.

For me, it was captivating to watch all these kids play together uninhibited. The only problems these 9 kids had was sharing the 5 pieces of chalk.

Funny, isn't it that kids can get along so well together in this world when adults can't? What is it about childhood that makes it so easy to get along with others but so difficult in adulthood to accept people's differences?

Thanks for teaching me something today kids!

1 comment:

  1. They look at people with innocent accepting eyes until society teaches them differently. What a wonderful experience. I wish we could get rid of our prejudices and see people through the eyes of innocent, or maybe just open children. Great Read!


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