Uarts.edu Art by Lindsay Beach
I used to think that the reason I’m not prone to grammar-lapses was because I hooked onto the American accent as a kid. No.
Proper English grammar was hard-wired into me not only by the sole effort of my mom who strictly forbade speaking Tagalog inside the house (until we moved), and her TV choices for the both of us (me and my sister), but also my grade school teachers who were exemplary at teaching and speaking the language, using words in variety and non-redundancy, and explaining diversity very accurately.
Being able to speak English in this manner (as my primary language) has been very useful to me. I have seen the benefits of it even in my growing years. I became confident and was good with academics.
(Heck! I often used the words “complacent” and “redundant” in grade 6. My 4th grade diary is full of words you’d think a high school student should be using in essay-writing. And some FilAms I meet, who don’t know me, are remarkable, as though I insulted them for responding in the same language.)
Teaching English as a first language in a country whose native tongue isn’t English is quite a issue for many, but should children have or not have this privilege? Research have shown that being bilingual from a young age have positive effects on brain development. (Read-up on that! I’m not posting any links here, you can google it.) And, it’s not like you are also going to deprive the child of his heritage and culture? You can still teach him how Apolinario Mabini was a great man but suffered Polio so he definitely wouldn’t stand up in those movies. He’ll learn Tagalog once he starts day care, it’s the perfect place to learn! When he’s three, you can take him out to meet people, and he’ll want to learn those languages they’re speaking too, so by the time he enters school, he won’t be at a total loss.
I share this in order to inspire, because I want parents to emulate this example of my mother who contemplated early-on the importance of teaching your child the most-spoken language in the world, and not just to a level of complacency, but to perfection.
Granted, no one is perfect. But what use is any effort if you don’t strive for the best, give your best. And if you are a mother, you must know what it means to want the best for your child.
For this, I thank you, mom.