Four years ago, Hedley began studying Mandarin at school. The year after, Lachlan began and this past year, Beckett threw his hat in the ring. I must admit that at first, Chinese intimidated all of us. The boys struggled with learning how to write in Chinese, and I looked down at their attempts at a total loss.
We’ve all heard about the benefits of learning a foreign language. In addition to transporting our children to other cultures — and getting them outside of the box of their own worlds — the actual process of learning another language literally stretches their young brains, forcing them to switch quickly between concepts. Studies show that kids who learn other languages become flexible thinkers and learners. And just think how open-minded they become regarding people who live differently that they do.
Visiting the China Institute
So with all that being said, Marc and I were delighted to join some wonderful new friends the week before last at the China Institute Gala in New York. I had never visited the China Institute, but my boys had told me about it since they’d gone with their wonderful Mandarin teacher from school.
It was fun to step out of my yoga clothes and put on a lace dress. Look at the cute panda decor!The red and lavender dresses of these gorgeous women took my breath away.Sitting down to a delicious meal, we felt the energy and vigor of the awesome Chinese culture. The institute, which promotes cultural exchanges between China and the United States, honored Vera Wang, among others.I realized that night how amazing it will be for my boys to one day visit China and see something so different from what they know. When that time comes, I know how deeply proud they will feel for having tackled such a challenging language.
It’s good to do difficult things. Challenge makes us proud. We look back and feel energized for having overcome our hesitations and fears. Push your kids today to do something that have shied away from. Whether it be a new language, a new sport, a new recipe. When we get outside of our comfort zone, we learn new things about ourselves and we grow.
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