Hello everyone. Once again, welcome to the new year and to the current Read More or Die Contest going on. I’ve been reading, just to busy to update stuff, but I’ll do it when I get around to it. Its pretty late here now and since the babies are fast asleep, I’m going to get this article in really quick. In fact, this article is a semi rant, semi useful perspective I suppose.
If you’ve had a kid, which I think there are some out there reading this besides my new buddy Daniel whose now living the parental life. Anyhow, if you’ve had or still raising a kid, I’m sure you were sitting in doctors offices at one point, reading books, hearing stories of where children should be in their development and stages of this or that, quantifiable data of growth charts and all that jazz. My rant is about this.
Our world is just too darn obsessed with should be charts that make absolutely no sense. Some people think that all people should be the same, and that stuff should all happen at the same time. I remember when I was pregnant that a good handful of women preached at me about what their pregnancy was like and how horrible it was going to be. Well, funny thing is, I didn’t listen to them. I believe in self full filling prophecies and that’s one of them. I had a great pregnancy. I’ve never been more healthy in my life. I had my child naturally with no drugs whatsoever and enjoyed popping her out. I’ve had doctors tell me how things were suppose to be, and it all be rubbish. The point being simply, in life, no chart is ever going to tell you how life is.
I remember a scene from ‘Knocked Up’ where the lead guy is telling the lead girl that baby books didn’t always exist. How ever did women give birth before them! Every woman’s experience is different, and that’s because we are all different. Even though there are certain events that are the same, it’s very different on a detailed manner (just like our personalized study methods). I couldn’t tell the person next to me that it will be the same as mine, because they’re not me. They don’t think like me. They might think I was pretty nuts to cut out all soda from the exact moment I found out I was with child. They might think it extreme that I worked out often and ate a strict diet. They might also think I’m nuts because I said everyday that it was going to be a wonderful pain-free experience (and many told me so over and over). Anyhow, I digress…
My beautiful baby didn’t have any interest in crawling. If a toy or whatever was far away, she just simply didn’t care. She’d entertain herself with her fingers or toes and often her ears. The doctor told me that I should be worried, freaked out even it seemed, because she wasn’t fitting the little chart of ‘babies develop like this’. At first I was upset, as parents worry about their children. But after taking a moment to realize that it was her lack of motivation, not intelligence, I began to not worry about any of that nonsense either. She developed just fine anyhow so far. Now, I kinda wish she was still sitting still playing with her fingers, and not getting into every piece of trouble her crafty little mind can figure out. (And crafty the little bugger is).
So what does this little rant have to do with Japanese. Well, I think it’s the same. So many people buy into these things that they can map. I should be able to do this at this point, so forth and so on. That’s what most programs and classes out there say. They sell that chart. They sell that feeling of development. But its all false, just like those charts they tell me my daughter should be developing with.
My daughter didn’t craw when most babies did, but she’s opening books and reading them (at least, just looking at the pages and flipping through) for at least 1 hour everyday. She doesn’t let me read to her, she snatches them away. She wants it all on her own. I never had to force a book into that little pudgy hand. Don’t force yourself to crawl in Japanese if you’re still having fun sitting and twiddling your thumbs (immersion) and don’t force yourself to speak coherently if you’re enjoying saying random words out loud and carefree.
I’m tired of everyone telling me that I should have developed a certain amount of skill just because of a timer, just because other people did something different. If my daughter was told (and understood), ‘hey you! Something is wrong with you because you’re suppose to be doing this now!’ she’d probably start developing some sort of mentality that there really is something wrong with her, when there really isn’t.
If so and so is telling you that your Japanese isn’t right where it needs to be, that you suck and should just go join the failboat class, well, don’t listen to them. Often times those taking classes can spout off how much vocabulary they know, how many culture points and grammatical ideas they understand, and make it look like they really know what they’re doing, but really when it comes down to it, they’re usually stunted on a lot of fronts like actually holding conversations with a native. But if that’s what they want, then fine, so be it. They’re different. So are you. So am I. We learn different, think different, act different, and there isn’t a flipping thing wrong with it. Follow your heart, your curiosity, your compulsions in Japanese and you’re going to develop at the perfect pace. The perfect pace for you.
Oh and, thanks for listening to me rant