Out of nowhere, inspiration to teach Chinese came to me. At that time, my daughter was speaking English a lot, but not really interested in speaking Chinese with me. I felt discouraged and resigned to having her be a repeat of me: a Chinese person who grew up not speaking Chinese. Then I heard a talk from one of the leaders of my church called The Language of the Gospel. His words touched my heart to not only be better about teaching my child about the scriptures and the gospel, but also about teaching my child a language that was dear to me: Chinese.
The most impactful part of the article for me was this:
“One factor that influences language loss is when parents don’t spend time teaching their children the native language. It is not enough to merely speak the language in the home. If parents desire to preserve their language, it must be taught. Research has found that parents who make a conscious effort to preserve their native language tend to succeed in doing so.”
Before that point, I’d only been trying to speak the language to my child. When she was little, it worked! We had little two-word conversations in Chinese and she mostly understood when I spoke Chinese to her. But as her speaking abilities approved, my confidence in being able to keep up in Chinese declined. Pretty soon, all of her Chinese abilities had dissolved. This article gave me hope, because I knew I had to do more than just speak the language to her casually, I needed to make a conscious effort to teach!
Now, at just a few months after I started making lessons and teaching my child Chinese, I can’t believe the improvement she has made. About half of her food requests are in Chinese, and she is always asking me how to say something in Chinese. She is curious and interested and happy to learn.
Here is the full article that was my initial inspiration! I hope this can inspire others to not give up on their language learning/teaching adventure: