Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cultural Competence and Belonging

Yesterday my daughter handed me a book of Czech nursery rhymes and asked me to read. Some of them are actually song lyrics; in fact maybe all of them are songs and some I just haven't heard before.

When I was finished reading one particular poem, the Slovak burst into song (because the poem was apparently a song I haven't heard before). Almost immediately K joined in, because she knew the song from preschool. It is hard to explain, but I had this moment of complete dissonance looking at them, realizing that they share a culture that I don't.

It makes me proud (that my girl knows her father's culture, knows lots of songs, can carry a tune...), but also makes me feel a little left out! It occurs to me that this must be how people feel when they don't speak the language of their spouse or one of their children's languages. I can't imagine feeling like this all the time...

Guess I need to brush up on my lidovky [folk songs]. :)


  1. I know the feeling all too well. That is why I strive to make sure I plant the seeds of our Latin culture in our 4 yr. old, so I too can share that with him. We live in US, in a very southern state; so I want him to learn Spanish, know the food, and learn to love both his cultures. So, start practicing some lidovky, so you can join your daughter, too! :) Great post!

  2. I often feel that way when my kids comes back from school singing or playing little very french games. I just try to be positive about it and look at it as an added bonus to them even though I feel a little sad they don't know my culture as well.



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