the longer i’m here, the more i realize that language barriers only seem to bother adults. sure, kids can get frustrated sometimes if you don’t know exactly what they’re saying, or, more accurately, if they can’t figure out what you’re saying back to them. for the most part, though, kids are okay connecting in other ways that transcend words and language constructs.
for kids, due to a language barrier, the connection tends to be much more hands-on: physically showing something, communicating with your eyes, acting things out, leading by example, and sometimes actually taking a persons hand and walking them over to something. adults don’t seem to like to do this, and i get that. with kids, it’s much more socially acceptable to be miming things and looking ridiculous, but with other adults we all want to seem cool and collected.
this was never more apparent to me than at the english language camp held at st. columba’s scottish mission last week. there were sometimes language mishaps among the adults, but with the kids, despite the plethora of languages that were spoken, they all made it work. by day two the children had made friends and bonded over the english songs and games that were being played, even if they didn’t fully understand everything that was going on – they trusted in the process and went along with it.
i think this idea of innate trust is something that we as adults can learn from, the way of interacting however you can and not worrying about making a fool out of yourself. the world would be a better place if we were all willing to get outside our communication comfort zone in an effort to relate to others from around the world. there are so many things out there that can be experienced and shared together, without ever having to exchange words.