As a mother, I gave her life. I was determined to teach my child to speak Chinese partly for my benefit, as it would facilitate our emotional communication and daily life communication. Besides, I believe it will help her future life as well.
I always respect my daughter, and in fact she decided to learn Chinese when she was five. At that time, I went to China quite often to visit my parents. I have a good friend whose daughter is one year older than mine. Every time when I went back to China, she would pick us up, and drive us to visit many places and had fun. My friend’s daughter was around 6 at that time, and studied in a local kindergarten. Once, my friend picked us up to hang out, my friend and I sat in the front seats, and our daughters sat in the back seats. My friend’s daughter started to read out when she saw the shopping malls’ names or the billboard. Then my daughter asked her “Why do you know all of these? Why can’t I read them out?”. My friend’s daughter answered “I learned them”, then my daughter said to herself “I learned Chinese in New Zealand too, but I don’t know the characters at all.” So my daughter said to me “Mum, I need to come to China to learn Chinese!” I asked her whether she decided or not, she said “yes”, then I respected her. So when she was 6, I took her to China to learn Chinese. I believe my child is so endurable and insistent, and I won’t forget that experience in my rest of my life. I also believe as long as my daughter has made the decision, she will achieve it.
Sometimes I feel really sad, as I heard some people saying “Learning Chinese is not important any more, as we live in an English society.” I think it is a big loss for Chinese who is unable to speak Chinese. I also heard some parents saying” Do not speak two languages with your children, they will feel confused, and speak slowly.” I just want to say this kind of thought is really unwise. I can’t say everyone has the same situation, but take my close friends and my children for example, bilingual education won’t confuse children at all! My daughter knew how to pronounce “grandma” in Chinese when she was 7 months old, and knew Chinese pronunciation of “dad” when she was around 8 months old. She can speak many words when she was 11 months old.