Wednesday, November 14, 2007


This is a special edition of German Homework that gave me some insights into the challenges our children our facing as foreigners in German Schools. Those who speak German may have guessed by now what Cowgummi might be. English only speakers will be scratching their heads, wondering what I am writing about.

Shantal had to measure different objects that she has in her back-pack. The list looked roughly like this: ink cartridge (for pens) "die Patrone" 32 mm, eraser "der Radiergummi" 44 mm, Cowgummi 15 mm, some other items.

At that point I stopped reading the list and I just cried a bit inside. Cowgummi is just not a word in either language and I didn't know how to break it to her. You can check LEO for the real meaning.

It brought up a lot of emotions for me. Do I give the clinical explanation of why it is wrong so she'll know how to avoid the mistake in the future? That's been a common approach for me and I think it drives her crazy. Do I just hug her? Then she won't know why. Do I say nothing? But then the question lingers. Have I done enough? How do I say anything and still let her know that I love her?

It is so tough to live on this planet. No matter where you live or what challenges you face, it is always tougher than planned. But by now I've forgotten, somewhat, how tough it was to be a child. And to be a child in a foreign land. That I can't really even begin to relate to.

I just hope and pray that I will keep that in mind whenever I am dealing with our children and pray that I can more clearly see things from their perspective.


Maria said...

kaugummi was one of my favorite words while in German class. Spelling it is another challenge...

Martina said...

Cowgummi. How utterly cute :-)

Martina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

March 2007