The Double Click: Parenting Advice, Gangs and Kinship, Spanish Texting, and More

Sometimes time zones, laundry, and the algorithms of Facebook mean we miss each other online. So I'm sharing my recent, favorite links for you to read when you get a chance.

Here's some fun articles to make you laugh and make you think. This week, we've got touching stories with airport strangers and Japanese fathers-in-law, pithy parenting wisdom, gangs and kinship, and tricks to text in Spanish.

Gate A-4 || Live & Learn

"We called her son, I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane. She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and found out of course they had ten shared friends. Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian poets I know and let them chat with her? This all took up two hours."

My Father-In-Law Made Me The Mother I Am || Brain, Child

"I may have loved my father-in-law, but I was terrified of having his grandchildren—or any child, for that matter. Not because of who or how Otosan was, but simply because having children is terrifying if you go into it with eyes-wide-open. At age 40, the year Toru and I wed, my eyes were pretty wide open."

Winners: The Best Parenting Advice In Six Words || The New York Times Motherlode

"Someday they'll grow a frontal lobe."

"What doesn't kill you - tries to."

"Pay attention, but not too much."

The Calling of Delight: Gangs, Service, and Kinship || On Being

"A Jesuit priest famous for his gang intervention programs in Los Angeles, Fr. Greg Boyle makes winsome connections between service and delight, and compassion and awe. He heads Homeboy Industries, which employs former gang members in a constellation of businesses. This is not work of helping, he says, but of finding kinship. The point of Christian service, as he lives it, is about 'our common calling to delight in one another.'"

Spanish "Netspeak" || Latinaish

"Learning a second language in the days before the internet was probably more straightforward. You learned how to speak, understand, read, and write it. Aside from the standard vocabulary, you may also have learned some slang. However in the age of chat, text, and social media you must also learn the “netspeak” or “chat language” of your second language."

5 (More) Spanish Cartoons on Netflix

5 Spanish Cartoons on Netflix from A Life with Subtitles

It's Thanksgiving week. Here, that means no school for the entire week. (Wha??? I do not remember that happening when I was a kid.)

And no school often means more TV. For us, I mean. I'm sure that's not the case everywhere. I mean, I want to be a Pinteresting mom, but I'm often more of a frozen-pizza-and-Netflix kind of mom.

But hey, TV can be educational, right? And for those of us raising bilingual kids, it's the perfect opportunity to up that second language exposure.

Netflix doesn't make it easy to find its Spanish-language shows, though I am learning some tricks. Disney programs (not Disney Jr.) and Netflix Originals are more likely to be multi-language than others. Sadly, I have yet to find a PBS show in Spanish.

But I've compiled several lists of Spanish programming, and many of you have introduced me to others. Here's some past lists: Spanish holiday moviesfamily-friendly Spanish movies, and the first set of 5 Spanish cartoons. And here are five more to check out:

#1 - Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Bitty Adventures

My daughter is big into this one right now. Interestingly, plain 'ole Strawberry Shortcake (also on Netflix) is English-only, so you have to go with the Berry Bitty Adventures version. 

#2 - Masha and the Bear

Truth be told, this series doesn't have much dialogue at all. But for some reason, my kids (4 and 2) LOVE it. It's available in English, Spanish, Russian, and French, so it's a multilingual dream come true!

#3 - Inspector Gadget

I loved Inspector Gadget as a kid, so I was excited to see this Netflix Original cartoon pop up. It's a touch old for my kiddos, but I'm sure we'll watch it more in the future as it's geared towards the 5-7 age category.  

#4 - Justin Time

This is new one for us. I'm always on the lookout for fresh shows, though, because I find it's easier to introduce a cartoon in Spanish than to convince my kids to switch over from English on their favorites. Once they discover it's also available in English... game over.  

#5 - The Gruffalo

A reader recommended this short film and it's companion, The Gruffalo's Child. I'm always interested to hear about your bilingual finds, so feel free to share in the comments!

How to Watch Spanish Cartoons on Netflix

Switching your shows to Spanish is a different process depending on your device (Roku, FireStick, AppleTV, online, etc).

To get started, select the program you want to watch. To my knowledge (or at least on the devices I have), there is no way to switch the audio settings on your overall system. I tried that once, and it just changes the languages of the menu, profile, etc. It doesn't affect audio on the shows.

After you choose your movie or show, find the menu "Audio & Subtitles." On our Roku, it's listed in the menu once you select the show. Online, though, I have to actually start the program first and then select the speech bubble from the pop-up menu.

Once you find that menu, though, you're good to go. Just select your language and let the bilingual screen time begin!

How do you get your kids to watch bilingual cartoons? Other Netflix recommendations? Let me know in the comments!

What I Learned Teaching On Multicultural Marriage

Here's the thing about marriage: no one is an expert.

At least, I can't imagine ever calling myself an expert on this crazy ride that is trying to do life with another person. On top of just the regular give and take of relationships, we've got cross-cultural communication, expectations, and differences to layer on top. Like a delicious tiramisu.

Last week Billy and I attended the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) Conference in Memphis. CCDA is a gathering of folks committed to people on the margins and community transformation. Attendees travel from all over the U.S. (and internationally) to learn about justice issues, reconciliation, practical ministry insights, soul care, and community development best practices.

We led a workshop on multicultural families with our friend David, who is Korean-American and his wife is Indian-American (South Asian). It was so. much. fun. I can't even tell you. I am constantly struck by how much I enjoy meeting and hearing from other cross-cultural couples. (Super cool party people in the hiz-ouse!)

Can I just say that we're a fun group of people? And actually, that's kind of true. I learned a couple things through our research for the presentation and our conversations that really stuck out to me. Here's 3 of my takeaways.

#1 We're an adventurous crew.

Billy really jumped on this one, reminding everyone no matter how boring your marriage is now, you were originally excited about the differences and the excitement of joining in with a new culture. I kept asking him to revise the part where he said, "I GUARANTEE it'll lose some of that original thrill," but he said it anyway. Ha!

But it is interesting that people who enter cross-cultural marriages tend to be open to new experiences and a little risk. I'm not going sky-diving or anything, but it's helpful to remember that we share that desire for adventure.

#2 Self-reflection is a valuable skill.

David noted that in much of his research there was a theme about the importance of self-reflection. Of course, being able to assess your background, perspective, and influences is helpful in any marriage. But there was a particular emphasis that cross-cultural marriage will be significantly more challenging if you struggle to self-reflect.

I love to over-analyze, so this seems right in my own wheelhouse. But I actually really like this quality being named because I think it helps to identify what's needed in particular marriage moments. Sometimes a call to step back and evaluate can be game changing.

#3 We can't stop laughing.

This workshop was filled with non-stop laughter. It helped that David and Billy are two of the funniest people I know and someone gave them a microphone. But I'm not even joking when I say that there was so much fun and laughter in the workshop, and I was reminded of a book I read that listed "10 Factors for a Successful Intercultural Marriage." Humor was #10.

At the end of the workshop, an attendee pointed out how much we'd all laughed. He gestured towards our slide presentation and said, "My wife and I have cried together over every topic you all brought up. It was really good to be with people who understand and we can all laugh about these things together."

I was so grateful for the opportunity to attend CCDA and connect with other multicultural couples and families. There was definitely a desire among the group to stay connected, so the three of us are currently brainstorming some ideas to continue conversations and laughter among multicultural families. Stay tuned!

What do you think? Do these characteristics sound familiar or not so much?

A Life with Subtitles. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.