|Jonathan and Simon help with grooming|
|Watching the steer show with friends|
|Kandra shows her market lamb|
|They love their big brother|
|Dallin with his market steer|
One of the days, Karl (husband) and I were walking through the fairgrounds with just our family members. We had the three young ones and one or two of the older kids with us. Usually, this would be a time when we would only speak German, because there were no one else with us. As we headed over to the ice cream booth, I asked the kids in English if they wanted ice cream. Right away, Simon objected, and said "Du sollst nur Deutsch sprechen" (You should only speak German). I was amazed, that with all the English that we had been speaking, at how aware he was that we had broken our unwritten language rule. He was very aware that we were not in the company of other English speakers. Yes, they were all around us; but he could tell that this conversation was a private family conversation. My question was not intended to include anyone outside the family. Even though he's only 5 years old, he very well understood that a language boundary had been breached and he called me on it.
Now with my older kids, I started breaching that rule way too often (addressing the kids in English when we were in a family setting), and because of that, our family language switched to mostly English much earlier than it has with our younger kids. In fact, with the younger set, our German has remained so strong because we have made such a concerted effort to really stick to our rules. We're trying very hard to keep the boundaries in tact, so that the childrens' German will continue to develop to a higher level than the older kids achieved. I guess, we'll just have to wait and see what our linguistic future holds, but for now, we'll just stay on our present course. It seems to be working.