(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Embracing Your Culture
What’s up Marked Ministry tweens? Its Kailyn here to give you this month’s article. When I figured out the theme for this month was lessons that we’ve learned from the past, I didn’t have any idea what I was going to write about. I mean, I’ve only been on this Earth for a little more than thirteen years and I really haven’t felt like I’ve had any major past experiences that I could write about. But then I started thinking about my culture.
When I was growing up, my mom would try to teach my sister and I how to speak the Spanish language that she grew up speaking. She would say “apagame la loose” to tell us to turn off the lights, but I pretty much only knew the simple stuff like “Yes please, no thank you, good morning, good night, hello and good bye.” I give my mom credit for trying to teach us, but I wish I had paid more attention, because I never knew that she was trying to prepare me for the near future.
It was the beginning of Spring Break of my sixth-grade year. My family and I had drove down the street in our little white Kia to the private Christian school that we had been looking into for my seventh-grade year. We were able to schedule a tour of the school to see if we liked it or not. As we walk across the black top to the row of junior high buildings, we see a teacher cross our path. The guide calls the teacher over and she introduces herself as Sra. Garner, the Spanish teacher for all of Junior High. She and my mom start talking in Spanish and even though I have no clue what they were saying, I nod my head and pretend like I understood every word.
Two months later we received a call that I had been accepted into the school. I was super excited that I got in, and so was my mom, but she said that since the school’s Junior High started in sixth grade, I was going to be a year behind in my Spanish. So, all throughout summer, she began to teach us all the Spanish she knew. My mom also bought a Spanish book from Barns and Nobles and three or four times a week we would sit down on the couch and read Spanish. Every time my mom would say, “Niñas, come to the couch so we can read!!!”
Both me and my sister would groan and trudge our feet to the couch. We looked at it like it was going to school in the summer. Or in other words, SUPER BORING! Every time we did that my mom would remind us of Colossians 3:23. It says that Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. It took a few times, but after a while It inspired me to work harder and go at it with all I’ve got.
When school started, I did have to catch up, but I did manage to keep a high “A” in the class. Mostly because of how amazing my teacher is, and how she has a great way of teaching the subject. My mom also had an extraordinary attitude and helped me as well with my homework and studying for my tests. She made me feel better when I got frustrated and we worked through it together. Although I did learn that if I had tried harder to actually learn the material my mom was giving me when I was growing up, I could have been that much closer to being fluent by now.
I felt so awkward speaking a different language with different grammar rules than the standard English language, that I was scared to mess up my words and make a fool out of myself. I have gotten better at it now that I have to do it for a grade and I am sort of used to it. At the moment I can listen to people’s conversations in Spanish and I have an idea of what they are saying, but I don’t feel all that comfortable speaking back and answer questions completely in Spanish just yet. With hard work and constant practice I will begin to feel less awkward and more comfortable.
So, I just want to leave you with this… No matter what, embrace your culture!