Saturday, September 16, 2017

Growing Up and Not Wanting to Speak the Baby (Minority) Language

So, we have had an interesting language set-up in our house for the past decade: When the three youngest children joined our family, the older children and my husband and I decided to only speak German to them, so that they younger ones would learn German just like the older ones did. However, at that point in our family, the older kids were mostly speaking English to each other and to us. My husband and I have always spoken English to each other and by the time the older kids were teens, we spoke mostly English to them. But, even though we spoke English to each other, all of us were very diligent about always addressing the younger children in German. And the younger kids only spoke German to us and to each other.

This was the language situation in our home for at least 8 years. However, recently, the younger ones have been speaking more and more English. At first, it was only with each other, because they knew that if they addressed me in English that I would ask them to switch to German and that I would only answer in German. The older kids also tried to continue to speak in German to them, but it has been more and more difficult.

Recently, I had an insight as to one of the reasons why the little ones are no longer speaking as much German (the minority langue) to us. I think it has to do with getting older and wanting to be one of the "big" kids. Their whole life, they have observed their older siblings (who are their favorite people in the world) speaking English to each other.
They adore their big sisters and brothers. And all this time, they have noticed that the big kids speak English to each other, but German to them. This used to be fine, but now the little kids are getting old enough to want to be a part of the "big-kid-club". I think they see German as the baby language and they no longer want to be considered "the babies." They want to join in the English conversations that the older siblings each other as equals. They want to feel like they are old enough to be addressed in English!

So, that said, what can I do to help encourage them to keep up with their German? Well, I'm still trying to figure that out. This summer, we had some of our young adult kids home from college, so the little kids were constantly around them and they were always wanting to speak English to them. However, just a few weeks ago, we sent the last of our "big kids" off to college (see picture). So, now, it's just my husband and me and our three little kids. With the older kids gone, there isn't as much social pressure to speak English. I'm hoping that we can continue to have times when we speak more German.

I've been thinking about this new language development in our family. And I think it's only fair, now that the little kids are older, that we come up with a system that doesn't make them feel inferior or not included. So, perhaps, when the college kids come home, we can try to ALL either speak German or All speak English. As far as that goes, maybe I can try to speak German to my husband more often, too. Our former system served us well for the many years, but now we need to reevaluate our bilingual goals and come up with a system or language routine that will continue to foster growth, language, and family unity. I still don't know exactly what that looks like, but I do know that we want everyone to continue to learn and love our target language as well as feel connected to each other, because, really, that's what non-native bilingual parenting is all about!!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Socially Savvy: BEING Joyful, Genuine, and Christlike

·        6 Blankets on lawn, each with different treats
·        Hand out group tags (tape them onto girls)
·        Introduce Activity:
·        Review Socially Savvy Soiree
Good manners and social skills + genuine love and concern = graciousness, kindness & charity
o   Common courtesy starts with acknowledging those around you pleasantly.

§  Please & Thank you
§  Excuse me
§  I’m sorry
§  Greeting/acknowledging  others
§  Handshaking
§  Smile
§  Be on time
§  Cell phone manners
§  Holding door open
§  Introducing people to each other
§  Remembering name

o   Are these skills important?
o   Difference between fake/forced and genuine good manners? (love)
·        Seeing VALUE in EVERYONE is the key!!
o   Who do we sometimes fail to value (person pumping our gas, the store clerk, the person who just cut in front of us, our younger brother, the person who is socially awkward or who doesn’t dress like us)
o   How do we learn to value others?
§  “See” them!
§  Know their names
o   GAME
§  Close eyes, look down.
§  When signaled lock eye contact with someone else and say their FULL name. add Full name and assign compliment to each girl (bright, sweet, smart, athletic, artistic, poised, kind, compassionate)
§  Person who is last is out of the game.
·        Switch Groups (by color)
o   Read over Activity #1 as a group
§  Practice in your group. When signaled (Nina’s whistle) start up a conversation with someone else in the group, practice different “openers”.
·        Switch Groups (by number)
o   Go over Activity #2 as a group
§  Read over “Conversation rules” as group and discuss each one, why it’s important, etc.
§  Divide into smaller groups and use conversation starters.
·        Focus on “Talk slowly” and “Hold more eye contact”
·        Focus on “ Noticing details” and “Unique compliments”
·        Switch within group?
·        Switch Groups (by shape)
o   Go over Socially Savvy Goals again (one girl reads out loud to group)
§  Also go over BEING words
·        Body Language
·        Eye Contact
·        Include others
·        Notice Others
·        Be GENUINE!!
§  Activity, Game (talk about genuinely caring about others):
·        Put one girl in middle of group, have each girl say something nice about her
·        Conclude by bearing testimony of how special each girl is. How much her Heavenly Father loves her and how each of us is expected to treat each other like special kindred daughters of God.

This was our way of making sure that each of our 3 groups had new people in them. Only works if you have about 36 girls:
Each girl was given a shape. The first group was divided by color, second by number, third by shape.

Discuss the rules below. Share your opinion. Is the rule important to you? Why or why not? Would you add anything to this list?

Ten Rules of Common Courtesy
Show respect for others.
When appropriate, say please, thank you and excuse me. After you receive a gift, make sure you write a thank you note or follow up with a phone call, email or text message. Do not use the word “shut up” – it is offensive!

Always apologize when you do something wrong.
When you physically or emotionally hurt someone apologize even if it’s an accident. If you make a mistake, try to make amends whenever possible.

When someone is having a conversation, do not interrupt.
If you must interrupt a conversation, make sure you are polite and say, “Excuse me, I’m sorry to interrupt but…”

When you change your plans, let others know.
Honor your word. If you commit to plans, make sure you show up. If something comes up (which it always does), make sure you contact others immediately.

Respect the needs of others in public.
Do not talk obnoxiously or loudly in public. Be aware of your surroundings and the people in the vicinity; use your cell phone in a private place. Always be respectful towards the people that serve you.

Never embarrass another person.
It is NOT polite to embarrass someone. In fact, it’s rude and mean and only serves to portray you as a bully. If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything.

When refusing an invitation, be kind and honest.
We cannot attend every function so sometimes you will need to politely decline an invitation. Remember it’s okay to decline an invitation but it’s wrong to lie to someone.

Respect your elders.
Always be polite to adults and treat them with respect. Go out of your way to help elderly people, e.g., hold the door open. Consider having a conversation with them – that may put a smile on their face.

Use good table manners.
I’m not implying you should put a napkin on your lap or keep your elbows off the table every time you eat. You should however, chew with your mouth shut and never speak with food in your mouth – that’s gross! Do not use your fingers unless, of course, it’s finger food. Use your napkin not your shirt and don’t lick your fingers.

Respect other people’s property.
Treat other people’s possessions like they were your own. If you lose or ruin something that belongs to someone else, fix or replace it.

Socially Savvy: Left Out? Reach Out!

Left Out? Reach Out!

·        Set up chairs in big circle in RS Room
·        Write BEING on board
·        As girls come into room, hand each one a “goal” slip (Socially Savvy Goals). They’re not allowed to show it to anyone.
o   Allow the girls to practice some of the social savvy goals we’ve practiced in the past.
o   Then have everyone take a seat.
·       Left Out?
o   We have all felt left out. Try to remember a time you felt this way. How does it feel? (WRITE ON BOARD)
§  Sad, angry, awkward, unloved, worthless, isolated and alone, misunderstood, insignificant, unimportant, hurt, sullen, self-pity
o   Why do we often feel “left out”?
§  Our friends exclude us, don’t want to be around us.
§  We don’t know anyone in a certain group, we feel afraid, unsure
§  We don’t WANT to be a part of a certain group, don’t really like them, so we exclude ourselves…but we still feel a little “left out” even though we did it to ourselves.
§  We are very self-conscious of our looks, our clothes, our body, our hair, the way we talk, etc. etc., so we withdraw from contact
§  We label ourselves as “shy” and avoid social situations, or maybe we’ve been labeled as shy
·        We become unapproachable
·        Where do these feeling come from?
o   Do the people “leaving you out” make you feel this way?
§  Bless their hearts:
·        Dealing with their own insecurities and put others down to help them feel better
·        Never taught good manners L
·        They’re simply insecure and afraid to step outside their comfort zone
·        They are wrapped up in their own problems and haven’t developed the ability to see others (don’t judge, because if you felt left out, then you were also “wrapped up” in your own problems.
o   So, if the people “leaving me out” aren’t making me feel left out, then who is?
§  Who wants you to forget that you are a royal, beautiful, special, important, loved (beyond our ability to comprehend) daughter of a King, the God of this Universe? (WRITE on board)
·        Look at the contrast between the way we allow ourselves to feel when we’re “left out” and the way we ought to feel knowing that we are precious daughters of God!
§  Satan is real. He is all about getting us to feel miserable. He wants us to feel the opposite of what we are.
§  He wants to squelch the light in us. (Can we be filled with the light of Christ if we are feeling “left out”? (think of the invitation to Come Unto Christ, to hold up our light and walk His path) If we let Satan snuff out our light, then he keeps us from our potential…don’t let him do that.
·        So, HOW do we stop feeling miserable? HOW do we fight these negative, miserable “left out” feelings?
·        Read Scripture:

2 Nephi 2:26

And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon. 

(are you going to be a victim, or are you going to take charge of your life and make it the best life EVER!)
·       Reach Out!! (Act for yourself) 
·        Think about how you felt when you walked in the room today with a mission to REACH OUT!! Hopefully you didn’t have time to feel left out!
·        Laurels share message about how to help us Reach Out (to help us not feel left out
·        - Read “Noticing Sarah”
·        -Idea List: Reach Out
·        If Time, talk about Extraverts and Introverts and how it doesn’t matter what you are.
o   Everyone can focus outside themselves.
o   Everyone struggles leaving their comfort zone
o   They reach out in different ways
§  Extraverts who like lots of social activity, need to be aware of anyone ‘outside’ their bubble of social activity…to see past their “group” and invite in others
§  Introverts, or those who don’t feel comfortable in large loud groups, have an amazing ability to connect with people one-on-one. They can approach those on the outskirts and help them to feel welcome in their own, very effective way.
·        ACTIVITY
o   Divide girls into 4-5 groups (or groups of 4). Ask them to try and stay away from their friends. Also see if they can get at least one beehive, one miamaid and one Laurel in each group.
o   Pair up and interview your partner (someone you don’t know too well)
·        Divide into groups of 4. Those groups split into 2 and ask each other questions (practice listening). Then join back up with the other 2 and introduce your partner to the others.
·       Conclusion
·       Talk about letting their lights shine wherever they are
·       YW give closing thoughts

·        BEING truly gracious.
o   Body Language (at ease, open, inclusive, smiling)
o   Eye Contact (smile with your eyes, look into their souls)
o   Include (always be looking for anyone who could be included—scan the room)
o   Notice (be looking for interesting, positive characteristics)

o   Geniune (care, interest, love—be truly focused on others, not on yourself or your own agenda)

·      Smile at and make eye contact with someone you don’t usually talk to. As you’re talking with your friends, invite others nearby into your conversation with your body language.
·      Find anyone who is standing alone and ask them about their day. If they had a good day, find out why it was good. If it was bad, find out why.
·      Invite those on the outskirts into your conversation through your tone, your smiles and your body language. Scan the room and make sure no one feels left out.
·      Make someone you don’t know that well feel special and important by really being interested in them and giving them your full attention.
·      In your conversation with your friends, compliment other girls behind their backs.
·      Observe the people around you, look for something positive and compliment them on it. Be sincere.
·       “See” and “value” someone you haven’t really noticed before. Find something you admire about them and tell them.
·      Start a conversation with someone you don’t usually talk to or don’t really know. Find out something that is happening in her life.
·      Introduce yourself to someone whose name you don’t know (or just approach someone you don’t know that well) and find some common interests that you have.
·      Scan the room. Look for anyone who might feel left out. Do what you can to help them feel comfortable and included. Make sure they can feel your love and your interest in them.
·      Look for a group of girls that you’re less familiar with and approach them and join their conversation.

What is your favorite Primary song?
What is your favorite nursery rhyme?
What is your favorite subject in school?
What is your favorite flavor of jelly beans?
Which flavor of ice-cream do you prefer?
What do you think is your very best feature or characteristic?
What is your strongest talent?
Do you play a musical instrument, if so which one(s)?
What do you usually do when you have leisure time on your hands?
What is your favorite season and why?
If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
What is your favorite color?
Who is your best friend and how did you meet?
What is your favorite home cooked meal?
What is your favorite grab and go meal?
Do you prefer to wear pants or dresses?
Which Temple do you like best?
How many siblings do you have?
What is your favorite snack?
When do you usually do your homework?
What is your favorite electronic device?
If you could be any animal which one would you prefer to be and why?
Do you have pets?
Which sport do you most enjoy actively participating in?
Can you recite all of the Articles of Faith from memory?
Which of all the prophets are you most eager to meet?
What do you usually do when you meet someone for the first time?
If you have to dress and leave in a hurry what is the one thing you can easily cut out of your routine?
Do you plan to go to college?
What job do you think you would most enjoy as an adult?
Do you hope to have children of your own? If so how many.
What was the last item you cooked and ate?
How many books did you read last year?
Where did you spend your last family vacation?
Do you have relatives in other states? If so, which ones?
Are you ticklish?
What size shoe do you wear?
How many pairs of shoes do you currently own?
Which one fashion accessory do you like better than others?
Do you have chores at home you are responsible for?
Which relative lives closest to you home?
Which of your relatives would you most like to visit?
If you were called on to serve a mission where would you least like to serve?
If you were called on to serve a mission where would you most like to serve?
What age do you consider old?
Which birthday are you most looking forward to and why?
Do you prefer pens or pencils?
Do you like your handwriting?
What is your full name?
Were you named after anyone?
Have you ever been water skiing?
What do you most like to do in the snow?
What is your favorite all-time movie?
Can you change a tire?
Is your room more clean or more messy?
Which animal would you most like for your pet?
Do you like sweet treats or salty treats?
Do you find it easy to save money?
Do you get an allowance?
Do you have more friends that are boys or girls?
Which do you prefer you had - straight or curly hair?
What color eyes do you most like?
What would you say is your normal exercise routine?
Do your pants get hung or folded?
Have you ever had acrylic nails?
Have you ever colored your hair?
What do you do when something funny happens?
How do you earn money?
Do you like to dance?
Are you on any teams or in any clubs in your school? If so which ones?
Where do you keep your spending money?
Do you have a savings account?
Did you have a favorite toy as a child?
Do you share a bedroom?
Where is the farthest you have ever traveled?
Do you have family members who live in another country? If so, which family members and where do they live.
Which family member do you most resemble?
Which family member are you more like?
What is the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you?
Do you have your patriarchal blessing?
Have you ever won anything? If so, what did you win?
Do you prefer mountainous or flat regions?
What is your favorite reading material?
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Have you ever been hospitalized other than when you were born?
Do you usually buy or carry your lunch when at school?
What is your favorite fruit?
What color of clothing do you most like to wear?
What is your favorite cereal?
What is your favorite breakfast?
Who do you spend more time with?
Do you know how to iron your clothes?