Every child is a gift. Every child has the potential to change the world. For the better. The author of “Zen, and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” describes this ‘potential to change the world’ as the ‘Quality’ of a person. Each child carries a unique sense of good Quality. This is why every child is a gift to the world. If we appreciate each child, they will grow up and contribute their sense of Quality to all our lives.
Language is the medium for describing your sense of “this thing is good quality” to other people. Your child’s ability to describe their sense of “this thing is good quality” is pre-rational. This means that “they know it when they see it”. It is even pre-language. A baby is able to coo in delight when shown their favourite toy, even though they cannot speak a word of what we think of as conventional language. This sense of “this thing is good quality” is nurtured throughout their life. Every person they interact with enhances this sense. Every experience they have enhances this sense. If they remain healthy, they will experience varying degrees of mental suffering whenever this sense is violated by some experience or some person. “It does not feel good,” they will say. When this sense is enhanced by some experience or some person, they will proclaim “this is the best feeling ever.” The Akan people of modern Ghana have a symbol that represents “this thing is good quality”: hwɛ-mu-dua.
Each child who is able to fully develop their potential into adulthood contributes their 1 good thing to the world with their hwɛ-mu-dua. The more languages they can speak or write, the higher the likelihood that they can find the words to describe their hwɛ-mu-dua to the world. The world is interesting precisely because there are many good quality things to discover and experience.
What is your child’s hwɛ-mu-dua? Do you want your child to contribute their hwɛ-mu-dua to the world? As a parent who wants to make sure your child’s gift is truly revealed, what is the easiest language for them to speak or write first? What is the language in which you can best pass on your own hwɛ-mu-dua to your child? What other language(s) will help them communicate their hwɛ-mu-dua to every person they might encounter as they grow up?