Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity. ~ Margaret D. Nadald
Our Father also gifted us with the nature to nurture, keen sensitivity to the Spirit, selflessness, discernment, and heroic faith. No wonder our Father placed us at the heart of the family and thus at the center of the plan of salvation. We are the Lord's secret weapon. ~ Sheri Dew
The Lessons from Learning a New Language as an Adult
There's nothing like feeling like you know nothing to help you learn :-D. I get a lot of time to quietly reflect as well as to listen wholeheartedly as of late. While I'm trying to be diligent about studying Japanese, let's face it, I didn't grow up here, serve a two year mission as a young adult, or work at it at all during the last 8 years that I've been married to a Japanese speaker (but, in my defense, a few of those years said Japanese speaker was living and working in Korea where he spoke Korean everyday.... yah, that's the other part of my defense, I'm married to a talented linguist who hears and picks up on things that are a not even on my radar! It's intimidating, he does his best to help, but he's having to work with someone that isn't naturally good at non-romance languages and some days are better than others :-D. Things went about the same way when I tried learning Korean, and just like those years, I found that the Koreans were a lot easier to learn from.
Similarly, using my caveman Japanese (a term a friend here coined), the Japanese people have been very patient and helpful in expanding my understanding. From there comes the listening part... I understand very little! The phrase that I use more often then I'd like to is わかりません "wakarimasen" .. I don't understand :-). I'm getting better with hiragana and can type it etc., so I'm leaps and bound ahead of where I was, but still not where I want to be.
The people here are AMAZING! It pains me that I can't converse with them more. So, I listen and try to pick up on context and words to help me decipher what is being spoken. This especially applies to our time at church. Most of the time I have NO CLUE what's going on, but it's good though. I listen and reflect more than ever and for that I'll be forever grateful. Again, it's hard that I can't communicate as I'd like, but just being a quiet observer has taught me a lot
I've also noticed how this experience has increased my desires and abilities to teach my children language. It's tout learning a new language! That total applies to the little people in our homes... I think I took for granted the ability of children to pick up on language. There brains are definitely squishy and able to learn quickly (my 4 older kids all have honed into the Japanese sounds and diction and are mixing Japanese words with their English... which I totally encourage, it's been so fun! And we're only like 12 weeks into about 3 years of being here!) Anyway, my patience level with teaching reading and writing has increased by a million and my efforts to teach language to my little ones in both English and Japanese have been infused with more vigor than ever.
Anyway, I don't know how many of you are going to drop what you're doing to move to a foreign country and immerse yourself, but I absolutely recommend learning a new language and conversing with someone that speaks it regularly. I've learned a lot about myself and my chidden over the last few weeks! It's hard to grow and stretch... it hurts!... but we're better for it in the end.
Might I also extend a challenge to those whose husbands speak a foreign language? LEARN IT NOW :-D. I'm LDS and all worthy men asked to serve missions for two years when they're 19 (women can also go at 21 if they so choose). One of the things that I keep hearing over and over is how men have been reproved for not teaching their wives the language that they learned. Elderly couples are asked to serve missions as well and the message that keeps coming through is that the Lord needs couple missionaries to serve in foreign countries and that it's especially important for the wives to be able to communicate with the people there. So! If you're husband served a foreign mission maybe it's time to start learning? Definitely pray and talk to your husband about things at the very least, it may surprise you what you find :-). (And might I add, while my brain isn't as squishy/able to learn language as easily as when I was a child, I'm sure it's a lot easier to do now then it would be later in life!) We have a senior missionary couple here right now that's reminded me of this. The wife (Sister) and I work on Japanese once a week. She's studying hard and getting better everyday, but it's HARD! She remembers a prayer her husband taught her when they were first married and things like that, but the new stuff is difficult. She wishes she would have learned more then when it stuck. She also shared an experience from the MTC of her husband getting reproved for not teaching her Japanese. I keep hearing these stories! So, with the aid of much prayer and my dear husband who prays to know how to teach me, we're trying to move forward and prepare ourselves to serve the Lord wherever he may need us.
For now, He needs us here and prepping our future missionaries by also helping them to learn a new language diligently (and to help their mom be better able to teach them their current language :-D). He's also teaching me to love all people and cultures, to find beauty in small things, and to quietly watch and listen. I'm grateful for these lessons. They're not easy... especially with an infant, still moving in, 2 kids in 2 different schools (where I also can't communicate with anyone effectively yet!), and a husband's who's business trips take up a lot of room on our calendar... but I'm learning!
Are you learning a language or have you tried in the past? What keeps you going?