Monday, July 21, 2014

Setting Sail in Zemun, Serbia


Today I was exceedingly proud of my little trio as they received their certificates for completion of basic sailing. Now I know it's just a piece of paper and every kid who came to class got one whether they were actually good at the sport or not, but to me the act of completetion itself was way more significant. 

For the past month we have been trekking out to the yacht club in Zemun for free 2 hour sailing lessons three times a week in Serbian, and walking over 6 kilometers all the way home.  Not one time did they ever say they didn't want to go to class. When we started the classes there was a translator but it turned out she was only able to make it to half the classes and really only seemed to translate about half of what the teacher said :). 

Never the less, week after week my fearless troops sat through the Serbian instructions and braved the waters with their teacher whom, my boys swear, only knew 3 English words; push, pull and ok.  They interacted with other children who knew even less English than the instructor, and were able to make friends with some of the bilingual kids. 

Day after day I watched my boys struggle to concentrate, learn, and master a skill (mostly by watching, practicing and learning from their mistakes). They paid attention to body language, learned some new foreign words and worked hard to emulate, all because they really wanted to. They were able to communicate with their teacher and gain something form him all without language simply because they had a strong desire to do so. This certificate they earned just reinforced for me that we learn best when their is a desire to do so, and also if there is a desire to learn something no obstacle can stop you from achieving your goal.

Hats off to my young captains, may you continue to inspire me with your tenacity.  

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