Bettina Young had a remarkable young life — a fairy tale life by the standard of so many American girls who dream of becoming ballet dancers and models. But the path to living happily-ever-after took some sharp turns. The constant, through thick and thin, was this young American’s boldness. Bettina’s story left me wondering whether living bilingually and living boldly have a natural relationship.
America the Bilingual is a storytelling podcast dedicated to all who are learning another language. We envision an America where it is normal to be bilingual.
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A message for parents of young children
When my wife, Lori, and I had our two sons, we dreamed of taking them to live in another country so that we could become fully bilingual as a family.
But our business was growing, the boys were busy in school and summer camp. Their grandparents, aunts and uncles loved having them around. Life was good, so maybe next year, and then next year, and suddenly our boys were off to college. While we did travel with them, we did not give our boys The Gift of bilingualism. I’m in awe of parents like Bettina and Greg who did choose the bolder path, which in the end, has such sweet rewards.
If you know some families with school age children — you might pass this episode on to them. Who knows what might happen?
This episode was written by me, Steve Leveen, and our producer Fernando Hernández, who also does sound design and mixing. Associate producer is Beckie Rankin. Editorial consultants are Mim Harrison and Maja Thomas. Graphic arts are created by Carlos Plaza Design Studio.
Music in this episode, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License, by by Kevin Macleod, Francisco Penilla, Lloyd Rogers with the Cartesian Reunion Memorial Orchestra, Komiku and Lee Rosevere. All thanks to the Free Music Archive directed by WFMU. The tape of Bettina’s daughter is a re-enactment. (How we wish we could have gotten our hands on the original recording!)