My Reasons for Raising Bilingual Boys

27 Jul

If you have read my Story of Qué, you know that I did not grow up speaking Spanish and I’m still not proficient today. Even though I have studied Spanish in college, have studied abroad in Spain and have taken adult learning Spanish classes, nothing has motivated me to learn more than wanting my children to know Spanish.

When I was growing up, if my parents didn’t want us to know what they were discussing, they would switch to Spanish. Ugh! (My parents didn’t teach us Spanish because when they used it in school, they were shamed or punished.) Admittedly, I use the little Spanish I know and communicate with my husband when I don’t want my son to know what I am saying.  It’s not very fair or nice, yo sé, pero here’s what I have learned: my son didn’t want to learn UNTIL he heard me speak Spanish at home … consistently. Entonces hablo Español en la casa con frecuencia.

Two friends of mine have their children in a local Dual Language Program through their school. I asked them why did they choose to enroll their children in this program. Here are their answers:

“Our decision to enroll our children in a Spanish dual program is very much based on wanting them to have deep roots in their Hispanic heritage coupled with the advantages that being bilingual will present in their future,” says Michelle Hernandez with Family Love in my City.

Colleen Pence from San Antonio Mom Blogs shares, “As our daughter grows into adulthood, speaking a second language will make her more marketable in whatever career or path she chooses. She is very proud of her Spanish speaking abilities and, as parents (and non-Spanish speakers), it’s exciting to watch her language development grow.”

It’s encouraging to have friends who also are not fluent in Spanish but share the desire for our children to learn Spanish. For all the reasons above and all the reasons in the infographic below, we want our boys to learn Spanish. There’s also something in the learning process that makes me want them to learn. Parents, do you remember the feeling you had when you heard your child’s first words? Well, I get to experience that doubly as our son learns Spanish. My heart smiles when I hear him use a Spanish phrase without being prompted like “Mami, te amo muchisimo!”

The school my son would attend does not have a dual language program. So it is up to my husband (who thankfully is bilingual) and I to create the environment for our boys to learn. There is another reason I want them to learn Spanish. For our family, it will be another experience we will get to create together. My husband is greatly involved too mostly because he says I sound like Peggy Hill from King of the Hill and he hopes that my boys won’t sound like that!

Next week, I will share the resources I use to teach my boys Spanish.

For now, enjoy this infographic from


9 Responses to “My Reasons for Raising Bilingual Boys”

  1. Michelle Hernandez (@FamilyloveSA) July 30, 2012 at 12:51 am #

    We are fighting the good fight! Not a fight…but you know what I mean! Thank you for sharing your story!

  2. Amanda August 1, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    Thank you, I soooooo needed this. I’ve bought books to help Baby and Husband, we’ll see how that works.

    Also, so glad to find a local blogger!!

    • mendezgonzales August 2, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

      Good for you Amanda! Thanks for stopping by. I’m about to post my links with several resources I use. So, you are in San Antonio?! Let’s connect on Facebook if you are on there. I might have a resource for you locally.

  3. Joanna August 1, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    this is so timely for me! my daughter will go to kindergarten in a year and we are trying to decide if a Spanish immersion program will feel overwhelming to her in addition to starting a new school. But we would love for her to be bilingual. Also- what happens when she starts speaking Spanish WE dont understand?

    • mendezgonzales August 2, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

      uh-oh Joanna, well, I know many 1st generation Mexican-American kids who learned to speak English but their parents never did. And you know what happened to them? When they didn’t want their parents to understand, they would talk in English 🙂 haha. Since I’m not proficient in Spanish, I just began taking lessons again. This time I’m using a tutor. Is that something you’ve considered? You could learn along with her!


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