The Third Little Traveler is feeling a bit sad and I'm not sure how to fix it.
While I was cooking dinner last night he came to join me. As we peeled potatoes together he asked "why does everyone make fun of the way I speak?"
I didn't have an immediate answer so I stalled by pretending I didn't understand.
"When I talk people copy me, they say I sound American, they laugh and repeat what I'm saying". I knew what he was referring to, I'd been there for a few of the conversations. I'd laughed along with everyone else, including the Third Little Traveler. It appears he's been putting on a brave face.
I don't really understand why, but he's had more of a North American influence than his other siblings. We left Canada over two years ago, but the accent has stayed. Maybe it's habit, maybe it's choice. He's seven, I don't really think about it and I imagine his accent will change again over the years.
Others, mostly our friends from home, appear to have problem with it though.
"You need to do something about his American accent" someone said within hours of us hitting the Tarmac. An old school friend recently said in disgust "Ugh, I couldn't handle it if my child spoke with an American accent". Both times I smiled, reminded them that G was an expat child who initially spoke with an American accent. Both times I reminded them that within six months of being back in Australia it was gone and he was speaking "Queensland" again.
Until last night I hadn't asked myself why I tell that story. Why I'm apologizing for the way my child speaks.
I'm not apologizing any more.
My child is exactly that. My child. I would like for him to not wear his good shoes to the beach. I would like for him to brush his teeth everyday. I would like him to stop fidgeting in circle time at school. And I would really like it if he stopped making experiments that involved rockets, sand and wine corks under his bed.
Most of all though. I would like for him to speak with thought and respect. I want him to speak his mind, speak from his heart and speak with kindness.
We teach our children not to judge others by the colour of their skin. Do we really need to then remind them not to judge on the inflection of their vowels?
Or maybe we should all aim to be as talented as Amy Walker and flip our accents accordingly. Take a look at this, she's bloody good.
Any suggestions or experiences for the Third Little Traveler?