A guest post by Ken
Growing up I took seven years of French classes. SEVEN Years! And I’m pretty sure EVERY DAY I said to myself, “This is so stupid! When will I ever need to know French?!”
Now I know: “When I adopt two children, in Africa, who speak French.”
Stupid. Stupid! STUPID! Why didn’t I pay better attention to Madame Tweedie?! (Yes, that really was her name. You can imagine the Looney Tune cartoons running through my mind during class. It’s no wonder I never learned the language.)
Now I am trying to revive a (dead-to-me) languauge. Never have I prayed harder for the gift of tongues.
It’s not as easy as it once was.
No more French classes.
No French channel. Although now I have Telemundo – Nashville.
No bilingual cereal boxes announcing their prizes. “On peut gagner!” [You can win!]
Even the stop signs in Tennessee are monolingual.
However, this time I have motivation! There’s a reason for butchering a language. Stumbling over verb tenses. Fumbling for correct prepositions.
There are two angels in the Democratic Republic of Congo who need to hear me say:
My name is Ken. What is your name? [Je m’appelle Ken. Quel est votre nom?]
Can I be your father? [Puis-je être votre père?]
I love you. [Je t’aime.]
Would you like to come live with us in America? [Aimeriez-vous de venir vivre avec nous en Amérique?]
I promise to protect you, feed you, and read to you every night… in French. [Je promets de vous protéger, vous nourrir et de vous lire tous les soirs… en français.]
In the end, I know that love covers over a multitude of translation errors. I know that the message will get through even if I sound like a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
And most of all, I am sure that Robin and I are adopting two children who just want to hear the words “We love you and we want to take you home.”
In any language.
And I can’t wait to say those words.