For most parents at the VICI Language Academy it is an investment in terms of time and money… But did you know the Academy’s founder makes a far bigger sacrifice?
Nathalie Danon-Kerr shares the dreams of many parents of having bilingual children for her own, which is why she makes the huge sacrifice of sending her children to France for around 12 to 15 weeks per year to stay with their grandparents. (Pictured above)
She explained: “I loved learning languages as a child and I always dreamt to become bilingual; I used to visualise myself giving speech in a foreign language and that language happened to be English!
“I think we all have dreams, aspirations when we grow up and as adults, we tend to transfer those aspirations to our children…. I realised how hard it was (being a parent) and always thought that I might not be such a brilliant mum, I knew I’d make mistakes but I had worked so hard to become bilingual that I wanted to ‘give it ‘ to my children…’
Being bilingual is an amazing asset and whether you want to listen to the scientists who keep proving how great it is for brain, economists who say how great it is for your CV or teachers who explain how brilliant linguists are with their communication skills and great thirst for learning… It clearly has a potentially endless list of benefits.
Of course if something is worth having there is always going to be a cost attached, whether timely, financially or emotionally.
What was the cost to Nathalie?
“Actually, if I’m honest, for the first 10 days to 2 weeks when my boys go to France I actually quite enjoy my newfound freedom! But after that it is very hard to be separated from them for a long period of time. My instinct is to go and fetch them but I tell myself that I cannot be selfish… This is part of wanting your children to grow up being fully bilingual and also having both cultures and feeling equally French and English.
I do not want my children ‘to be English with a French mum’. I want them to say that they are French and English, embrace and be proud of their heritage.
“They’re already, at the age of 7 and 10 extremely open to new ideas and have wonderful analytical minds; which comes from not only swapping from one language to the other all the time but also from experiencing different cultures, different habits and having to adapt. Adapting is the key word!!
“The reason why I not only allow but positively encourage my children to spend so much time with their family in France is that I don’t want them to be ‘tourists’ when they go there, I want them to be just plain simple little boys on holiday at Mamy and Papy’s house!” (And make lots of friends as pictured above!)
Whether you invest in a language programme for your children, take them travelling or allow them to spend time away from you in a foreign country… All of these will cost you in time, money, energy and for some of us, emotion but it is such a worthwhile investment to make.