This just in from a plane encounter while I was flying back from San Jose CA. I had the privilege of sitting next to a wonderful young woman who offered to put my bag in the overhead bin.
That is the first thing that caught my attention. Her kindness and good manners.
After I had thanked her, I asked her where she was from and she told me she was from China. I had just come from an incredible party the night before that some of the Chinese Americans in the San Jose area were throwing to celebrate 3 graduates in their community, so she and I began to chat about food, culture, language, economics, you name it, we talked about the world right now and how the United States and China fit into it.
She works for a major company in China that is owned by the Chinese government but I did not ask her permission to use her name nor her company’s name, so I will not mention it here.
But I can say this. After she asked me what I do and I explained to her about SingBabySing, moms’ voices, baby language development and how singing helps people to hear the tones in language, we got into an insightful discussion about China and what Chinese mothers are doing to teach their children to learn both Chinese and English from a very early age.
From what I understand, mothers there are flocking to learning centers that feature fun activities for their babies to become prepared for learning both Chinese (Mandarin) and English language early in life.
I got excited by what she told me because my dream, as you know, is to reach as many mothers and babies as I can to impart my knowledge to them about how a mom’s voice makeover can improve her voice so that she can give a more excellent example of vocal patterns to her baby and children.
A mom’s voice makes the voices of the future!
One of the key things that learning to sing better does for moms is teach them how to hear tones or pitches better. Language is based on pitches or tones and Chinese, in particular, uses 4 basic tones (+ 1 “toneless” tone) that can take a word like soup, for instance, and make the same word mean sugar, lie back or hot water. It all depends on the inflection or tone or pitch that you use.
And since English is a non-tonal language, it is harder for us native English speakers to hear the differences in inflections. This is a problem that needs solving.
Apparently, from the young woman told me, it would not be difficult to reach lots of young mothers and babies in China because the people there already understand the connection between the mother’s voice and language skills.
And that got me to thinking. What about America? What about our children, our mothers, our language skills?
How many mothers in the United States think about this subject? Is it important to them? Do they understand how crucial it is for our children to learn Chinese in this day and age?
Here’s the reality:
- China and the United States are the two economic giants on the planet. Yes, even with our national debt (owed in large part to China) we are still a major player on the international economic scene.
- In fact, if you could speak both English and Mandarin Chinese, you would be able to communicate with over 1/2 of the people in the world! Imagine your child being able to do that! Trust me, the mothers in China are not only imagining it, they are already doing it….BIG TIME! And with the government’s encouragement!
So how long do you think will we be able to compete in the global economy, to skillfully and gracefully negotiate what is important to us on the world scene if we cannot communicate in Chinese but the Chinese can communicate in English?
As I understand it (and I need to verify this data) there is about a 4.5 year window before certain agreements must be met between these two superpowers.
China will need to open its doors to imports from the United States (and other Western countries) and not just export goods if it is to continue to grow. In other words, the two world powers (the G2) need one another and because of this and other realities, the United States will need to be able to compete in manufacturing jobs, clean energy jobs, you name it, in order to even have a voice in what will come next.
Moms, we need to get busy and get more serious about the future for our children. I know, I know, you are already so busy that your eyes are bugging out, you aren’t getting enough sleep and sometimes just want to scream, right?
But wait, there is good news.
But first I’m going to make a hard statement here, one that I think you will agree with.
It is based on something the young woman on the plane said and my own observations. I have observed that we in America love to be entertained probably more than we love to learn. OUCH! At least, it seems as though we do not want to learn unless it is fun. And if not that, then we love to play and eat more than we love to study. OUCH again! All we have to do is look at our national weight, diabetes and heart disease problems to face the last truth.
Boy, am I getting preachy or what? But please bear with me, because….
….look around you. What has happened to our schools? Where is the thirst for learning, for gaining knowledge encouraged in our mass media? What do our marketing machines tell us is the most important thing we need to do? The concept of learning is not very sexy, so how are you going to sell its importance to the American public? OUCH OUCH AGAIN!
Where are the majority of our children learning how crucial it is for them to be able to communicate on the global scene? What large scale private or public programs do you know of that are enabling us to give our children the advantage and competitive edge in language skills, for instance?
So here is my harder statement: We all have 24 hours in the day. It’s not any different in China than it is here in the States. Time doesn’t change based on political, cultural or geographic differences. Time remains the same for us all.
So what? That isn’t a hard statement, right?
I answer that with a question: If you had the opportunity to improve yourself for the sake of your child’s language and musical skills (these are intimately tied together, by the way) would you turn off the TV or your cell phone or computer or iPad or any other electronic device that sucks up your time and do something fun and easy to make a better world for you and your baby?
If you can answer yes to that without getting mad at me for suggesting that you shift your focus and take just 10-30 minutes a day to do improve your voice so that your baby will have a better chance in the future for being able to learn a tonal language like Chinese, which, in turn means that he or she will have a better chance at getting work when they grow up or doing work that satisfies them and adequately pays their bills, would you do it?
I think you would, otherwise I wouldn’t stick my neck out and ask you to turn off your TV, cell phone, iPod, games, etc. and get down with me.
Your voice is one of the most valuable possessions you have, something that can literally change the way you and your child hear and see the world, an instrument so powerful that you can command attention and respect with it in ways that you never dreamed of.
Are you ready to start?
In a few weeks, I will have some things to give to you that can change your life and the life of your baby, your other children, your husband and the world around you.
Think of it. If ten million mothers in China probably already understand what I am talking about, why shouldn’t you be given access to these life-changing truths about your voice and your baby’s future language skills?
Join me in the quest to makeover ten million moms voice for the sake of a better world!