As I’m sure I’ve mentioned repeatedly, my neighborhood is filled with young kids. It’s like my kids have extra brothers & sisters, and I absolutely love it.
Quite a few of the families are immigrants and speak a language besides English at home, including one of DD’s friends. I find DD’s friend to be a really delightful girl, well-mannered and sweet. I hang out with the 2 of them often. I was chatting with her Mom the other day & she says her DD is not as well behaved for her! I was cracking up. My kids are also worse for DH and I than other parents or teachers. In a way, it’s nice that they feel comfortable at home enough to let go, as I blogged about before.
Today, DD wanted to play at our house instead. I preferred the opposite and DD was uncharacteristically resistant. I said if there were some toys or games they wanted to play, she could simply take it with her. That did no good. She’s spent many hours there the past several months, why this resistance? I asked her what was wrong and invited her to talk to me about it.
Sure enough, my instincts were right. There was something to it. “I don’t like it when they’re speaking another language,” she admitted reluctantly.
Of course I let her know that is understandable. I have felt that way myself. Throughout my career, I’ve worked with many non-native English speakers, including visiting them overseas. So yes, I expect to be around conversations I don’t understand. I’m constantly grateful that English is so widely spoken. My colleagues from Israel, China, and The Netherlands all use it to communicate with one another, but I get to use my native tongue with them all. I’m lucky.
I joked that there will always be conversations she doesn’t hear… it’s just that with DH and I, we step into another room and lower our voices. 😉 I encouraged her to ask her friend to learn a few words, and with enough time, she might even realize she is understanding it! And she’s lucky to be exposed to different cultures, religion, food, etc.
Yes, it’s uncomfortable. But she needs to not let this ruin her friendship. SO GO OVER!
She went… hopefully she isn’t back in the next 10 minutes! 🙂