MORE GRASS, AND IMMIGRANTS
Though I shudder to even type this out loud, this is the last week of school. Tigger is winding up her 4th grade year, while Little Bit is completing kindergarten. At our school, the end of kindergarten brings with it a momentous decision: we must choose which foreign language the child will study from grade 1 through grade 8.
The school offers Spanish, French, Chinese, and German. During kindergarten the kids got a taste of all four. How does one choose?
The school counsels parents to talk with the children about their preferences, and to remember that the main goal is learning to learn a language, more than learning the language in question. Huh.
So I asked Little Bit what she liked best, and as I expected, her preferences mostly had to do with the quality of the games played in class. The French teacher, it seems, was the most fun this year. Well, I’m sorry to tell you this, kid, but other parents have told me that the older French students get more homework and have more tests than the students in other languages.
Learning to learn is all well and good, but the fact remains that Spanish is by far the most useful language to know in the U.S., next to English of course.
This afternoon I found an ad on Craigslist for a lawn care professional. I called at 2 pm and before 7 a woman who spoke English with an accent and her husband who spoke English not at all arrived to give me an estimate. I think they are Mexican, though I guess they could be from another Central or South American country.
Since the national hullabaloo is all about immigration these days (helps distract the public from that pesky war, dontcha know), I did wonder if they were legal. It seemed like a rude question to ask, though, kind of like asking a couple, “are you legally married or are you living in sin?” So I didn’t.
Really, I don’t think it is any of my beeswax. I run a small biz too (freelance writing), and my clients never ask me if I’m a legal resident of this country, if I hold a business license, if I pay my taxes. If I don’t, that’s between me and the long arm of the law, in’it?
The lawn folks quoted me the going rate for my neighborhood and fit me into their schedule, with service to begin in a few days. Legal or not, they are working their butts off, performing useful work and collecting honest pay.
If they are not legal, I don’t believe they are taking jobs away from native born workers. It’s not like anyone was standing in line to mow my lawn. Back in the day, lawn mowing was a job for a teenaged boy. And if some local kid had knocked on my door and said, “Your lawn looks like it was mowed by a blind, drunk squirrel. Want me to do it next time?” I would gladly have hired him. Didn’t happen.
So I signed Little Bit up for Spanish. She already knows a little. When the lawn folks were on their way out, Little Bit said, “Hola! Como estas?” Or something like that. It’s been many years since I studied Spanish. Good thing the kids will be here to interpret for me.