Kinder

Two weeks of winter break approached. He was yelling from the window as the bus pulled up to our house.

“Mama I have an idea! I have an idea!”

He couldn’t wait to get out of the vehicle before he spilled out the plan. “You get a paper. You write down your phone number on it. I give it to Alejandro. He gives it to his mom. And then he comes to my house to play!” With just one day left before the break he couldn’t have had better timing. We drafted the note and he stuck it into his bag for delivery the next day.

The much needed break started. Each day brought the same question, “Did Alejandro’s mom call?” Each day brought the same shake of the head and slump of the shoulders. A week went by with nothing.

Then this afternoon an unidentified number showed up on my phone. Alejandro’s mom called! She told me they had been on vacation but wondered if the boys could get together. Yes! I was so happy for Tyler. After I hung up I told him that his plan had worked. He climbed up in my lap and hugged my neck saying thank you over and over.

Putting my son in school this year was a hard decision. I had home schooled the older three until they could at least read English well. Yet at the time they all three could speak Spanish and English fluently. This was not the case with Tyler. We never made it a goal to make him speak Spanish. And the year before we were working hard to help Kaitlynn learn English. So now Tyler was five and could understand very little Spanish and speak much less. That settled it in my mind. He needed to do kindergarten immersed in Spanish. So all five of my kids are in school this year. Such a big change for me after having a kid in the home for nearly 14 years straight.

Kindergarten here is called Kinder. Looking at the word in English your mind probably pronounces the word as the comparative for the base kind. In Spanish the i says ees. The d is a soft th. The e is an ay. In other words, a completely different word. My hope, though, is that during Tyler’s time in Kinder he does indeed become a kinder person.

Becoming a bilingual person will help him to love the people of Bolivia. It will allow him to embrace the culture as his own rather than struggle to adapt to it as his parents have. His heart will become endeared to the land of his birth. I am pleased that he is finally learning to speak Spanish.

And who is his favorite friend at school? A Spanish speaking little five year old boy named Alejandro. And he is in our home right now! Oh, this is so good! To hear Spanish bubbling out of my son’s lips from the other room makes me so happy. They are building with legos, playing with transformers and bionicles, and running around the house in their imaginary worlds.

Every so often Tyler will ask me how to say something in Spanish and then he will repeat it a hundred different times as he flies away to play again. “Silla… silla… silla…” The best learning happens when you don’t even notice it, right? The trick is getting yourself in the right places to pick up what you want to know. It helps to follow through on those great ideas, too.

One thought on “Kinder

  1. Yes, the best learning happens when you don’t even notice it. It is so cool to hear about Tyler’s spanish-learning and friendship-building experiences.

    By the way, when I saw the word “kinder” as your title, I heard it in my head just as it sounds in the word kindergarten. Maybe it’s all that German I studied in high school.

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