This August, we will be celebrating our Buwan ng Wika. And what better way to do it than by encouraging a love of the Filipino language in your child!
Nowadays, a lot of parents want their kids to speak in English, in order to have a competitive edge when they're already grown up and looking for work. On the other hand, Filipino, our national language, almost always plays second best to English, as some people don't think that there are any benefits when it comes to practicing, using, and being good at Filipino.
However, Filipino is a beautiful language; more nuanced than English, and it is a reflection of how we are as a people. Fostering a love of Filipino in your child instills with them a sense of pride and belongingness, and is important to our identity as a people.
But how exactly would a parent go about encouraging their child to love the Filipino language?
Filipino shouldn't be a second choice
There's nothing wrong with speaking English at home, or with teaching your child English. However, parents should make sure to also balance it out by teaching and talking to their children in Filipino.
Instead of focusing on raising a child that's proficient in English, why not raise a child that's also good in Filipino? Teaching your child a 2 languages helps develop their brain, and helps create new connections for their brain cells, which helps kickstart and boost their development as they grow up.
Not only will you be making your child smarter, but you will also foster in them a sense of national pride and identity as they grow to learn and love their native tongue.
It's a part of who we are as a people
As a Filipino, our language is inextricably connected to who we are as a people. A majority of the population know how to speak Filipino, so it's a way for us as a people to be united, especially during these days.
There are also certain words such as kilig, or gigil, that don't have any equivalents in the English language. These words are uniquely our own, and express feelings that all Filipinos can understand, and have felt at one point or another.
Telling your child, "Mahal kita, anak" sounds more meaningful than simply telling them "I love you." The Filipino language has a charm and 'kurot sa puso' all on its own, and teaching your child to love and appreciate our national language helps make them feel like they're part of something great, that they're Filipino.
It's what makes us unique
Our national language is part of our identity, and it's part of what makes us unique as a Filipino people.
For us, our national language is a part of our shared experience, as everyone in the Philippines, rich, poor, female, male, parents, children, are familiar with the Filipino language. It's what binds us to our communities, and what lets other people from other countries know that we're Filipinos.
Filipino is a beautiful language that's all our own. We should celebrate our heritage, and our history by making sure that our children know how to speak Filipino, and speak it well. If we only put as much focus on Filipino as we do with English, our country will be more united, and we'll have a deeper sense of nationalism.
So make sure to encourage and foster a love of Filipino in your child. Someday, they'll be sure to thank you for it.