Like many parents I have lofty goals for my child. I want him to be good-hearted, happy, joyous, and free. And to one day buy his mother a waterfront condo overlooking the mountains of Kauai. [Waleed, if you’re reading this years hence, just kidding. Really. Unless you want to. I mean, I wouldn’t say no.] One of my deepest wishes however is to give my child the gift of being multilingual. I’m still in Florida and the effect of hearing Urdu and Punjabi day in and day out [I am accepting my child’s Urdu will be a Punjabi-Urdu Hybrid- I’m okay with hybrid, its better than none at all] is immeasurably beneficial as I hear him trying out sounds and vowels not typical of English but in the tongue I wish to impart.
As much as I’m not a big fan of TV, my mom, who scoops up Waleed when he rises at 6:30am perky as a bunny on red bull, loves starting the morning with him watching a recorded Urdu drama on PTV each morning. [And extra sleep versus making sure little guy doesn’t get TV exposure? Sleep is a selfish beast. And it wins each time].
Their daily ritual made me wonder about the benefits of watching some Urdu-language shows so I sat down at my increasingly rare moment at the computer to see what youtube had to offer in the way of Urdu language cartoons. Most were downright odd like a seemingly possessed girl singing urdu poems or this Tom and Jerry dubbed Punjabi ‘song‘ but then I saw this, a properly rendered cartoon described as a story about a bird and crow with a lesson to boot! [In Hindi- but close enough] So I plucked my son in my lap, turned up the volume to watch this:
It’s a tale about a crow. His house crumbles in a storm. Amidst thundering rain he knocks at his neighbor bird’s door, begging for help. In a minute she says with one excuse after another. All while crow shivers and ducks lightening. Finally, she lets him in and orders him to babysit while she bathes. He does. But he’s hungry. So he eats some kheer cooking on the stove. The bird sees him eat it. She gets mad. She pulls out a burning log. And burns his tail off. The moral of the story: Don’t eat other people’s food. I am not kidding, that’s the lesson. While I know my son will experience the harshness this world has to offer, teaching him via cartoon that most people are only looking out for themselves and don’t enjoy sharing and that its a dogeatdogeatworld are not exactly lessons I want to impart just yet.
My dad and I spent a good ten minutes tonight laughing [against doctor’s orders- whoops] at this old school Cookie Monster sketch asking for a box of cookies at a library [back when Cookie Monster as opposed to carrots ate, well, cookies] and as I looked through more such videos [way more than a grown person without a child in their lap has any business watching with rapt attention] I felt downright nostalgic for the shows of my youth and wished so much my son could perhaps watch some good high quality similar stuff in Urdu with lessons not quite as traumatic as ‘don’t knock on a neighbor’s door when you lose your house in a storm- they got better things to do‘. In Hindi or Urdu, they must be out there. Just need to find it. In the meantime? PTV at grandma’s house where pretty pasty ladies in dramatic falsettos swoon over marriage proposals will just have to do.
What creative methods are you using/plan to use/have used on the path to impart language to your child?