We are thrilled. This also means that Sienna has priority when she’s ready for kindergarten.
As you probably know, Spanish is the second most used language in the United States. There are more Spanish speakers in the US than of Chinese, French, German, Italian, Hawaiian, and all the Native American languages, combined. According to the 2012 US Census, Spanish is the primary language spoken at home by nearly 40 million people. That is double what it was in 1990.
Spanish speakers are the fastest growing linguistic group in the US. By 2050 (Brae will be 41; Sienna will be 38; baby in the oven will be 36), the US will become the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, and Spanish will be the second-most-spoken language in the world, surpassed only by Chinese. That means that English will be spoken less than Spanish.
More and more businesses are requiring bilingual employees. Bilingual employees can earn $20,000 more per year simply by being bilingual.
With all this data (and believe me, there’s more), you may see why it is so important for us that our children speak another language, particularly Spanish. But, it’s more than just all these figures. I began learning Spanish when I was in 7th grade, and continued formal education of the language through college. It has helped me immensely in my personal and professional life. My sister is a Spanish high school teacher. My mom speaks Spanish and is able to use her medical degree to travel the world with “Doctors without Borders.”
Tygh, well, el no habla espanol. Que lamenta.
There’s also another reason why it was so important for our kids to get a Spanish education early, particularly for Brae. Brae is a quarter Peruvian. We wanted him to be able to connect to his Latin roots and have the opportunity, if he wanted, to travel the world with the ability to converse easily with native speakers.
Even today, when Brae speaks Spanish with native speakers, the native speakers (and others watching) are absolutely dumbfounded. This 5-year-old, pale-skinned, skinny “white” boy is talking fluently in Spanish with them. They get a tickle out of it.
And I just have to smile at this gift he’s been given.