Wednesday, March 30, 2005

"Slicha, Ha'im Atem Mevinim Ohti?"

Blogroll Me!

Hebrew for "Excuse me, do you understand me?"

Last night I was at another meeting of the committee I sit on at my children's day school: the chinuch committee, ie. the education committee. Of course we talked about this, that and the other, throwing around old as well as new ideas that relate to the betterment of our children and to our tuition dollars.

An opportunity arose for me to speak, and this is similar to what I said: "You offer an Ivrit b'ivrit program (Hebrew immersion) from preschool on and you really just don't know how much a child absorbs. I've tried over the years to speak Hebrew to my children at home and they whine and don't want to hear it. I figure I'm helping them along because I'm reinforcing what they learn in school, but oftentimes they've turned a deaf ear to my husband and I.

"Once in a while, though, I'll start talking to one of my three children and my oldest will answer or comment about everything I've said; he has no desire to do so in Hebrew, but at least I have clear evidence in his English responses that he's understanding everything I'm saying.

"Several times I've wanted to say something to my husband so that my children will not understand, and I revert to Hebrew. My husband says, 'Why are you even bothering? They understand everything we're saying!' So true -- that is how I learned German and Yiddish at home!

"We don't realize just how much like a sponge a child and his/her mind are. Until we are forced to use a language, we don't truly know just how much we've absorbed."

Zeh ha-kol; ayn ohd. (That's it; there ain't no more!)


tuesdaywishes said...

Hope you had a good time at the meeting. Were my husband's comments as vicious as he says they were? I bet he was much more polite to the "administratzia" than he claims to have been.

About speaking Hebrew at home, we can't use it either. And I don't speak Yiddish at all. And my kids' French is decent, where mine is nonexistent. And they can translate Pig Latin faster than hubby can. Spelling was gone as a secret code in 1994. We're down to whispers, non-verbal communication, and just plain asking the teenagers to leave the room. (We say that it is a closed session of the ruling body and the members of the People's Caucus are dismissed.)

torontopearl said...

Your husband was more than fine in what he had to say -- he speaks as both a parent and as an educator so he has a great head on his shoulders and fine comments.

Nu, so when are you going to post some more; don't comment on mine or Mr. S's posts-- write your own.

(tapping my toe) I'm waiting....

Anshel's Wife said...

You are so lucky that parents have a say at your school. Or even just the appearance of it!

My husband is from Russia, so he speaks Russian to the kids. They seem to understand. Even our youngest (1 1/2). My son, age 9, understands nearly everything. I have him translate for me when my husband is speaking Russian on the phone. My husband and I can read Hebrew, but we don't understand it (Yet!). But my son is picking up quite a bit at school. My son also knows more Yiddish than I do. We can't even whisper. He seems to have super hearing when we don't want him to hear, and no hearing when we do want him to hear.

Your sponge theory is righton