Bringing up your children to speak more than one language has many benefits – this has been proven both through research and personal experiences of bilinguals themselves. If you have read my posts before, you know that I often emphasize the benefits to the extended family bonds. When children have a common language with their grandparents and other relatives, they can create their own independent relationships across generations and geographical distances. However, the ability communicate across borders can have a positive impact far beyond the extended family: it gives your child one of the central building stones for becoming a global citizen.
Global citizens are people who are open to the rich diversity of our world community, while still taking pride in their own culture and heritage. My firm belief is that by raising global citizens we can create a brighter, more peaceful future for all of us.
Being exposed to the existence of other languages increases the perception that the world is populated by people who not only speak differently from oneself but whose cultures and philosophies are other than one’s own.
– Maya Angelou
A bilingual child learns early on that one thing can have many names. This is one of the factors contributing to the findings that bilingual people are generally more open-minded and flexible in their thinking. Open-mindedness is one of the main traits of a global citizen: one who accepts and embraces our differences as something to treasure.
The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.
– Ludwig Wittgenstein
Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry but by demonstrating that all people cry, laugh, eat, worry and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try to understand each other, we may even become friends.
– Maya Angelou
Travelling is a lot easier when you know the language of the country you are in – the more languages you know, the more countries there are where you are able to mingle with the locals and learn from them. Your communication skills do not restrict you to the tourist hot spots, but allows you to have a more genuine experience of the country. The chances are high that your children will travel more than you – giving them the language skills to enhance their life adventures is precious.
Words are the voice of the heart
When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.
– Milan Kundera
What can be better than speaking from the heart? – speaking from the heart in more than one language, of course! Jokes aside, being able to express yourself in different languages opens many doors in your personal life. It also offers you opportunities to contribute to the increased understanding between others by being the bridge between different countries, colours, cultures and creeds.
We may have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race.
– Kofi Annan
This post was written as part of the #IMLD campaign to raise awareness for the International Mother Language Day
Please also check these two great posts on global citizenship:
How we help our children to become Global Citizens by Scrambled Nest
How do you define “world citizen”? by Raising World Citizens