Learning “new tricks”

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There is an old saying that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” I haven’t an opinion on that particular statement, but some may consider me an “old dog” since I’ve been out of school for 48 years. Since I’m now a Nana for two granddaughters who will both be bilingual, I challenged myself to learn to speak French. Our daughters speak English, and their husbands speak French. All are probably considered bilingual now. Latin wasn’t a fun subject in grade 9, but it did help with derivatives and knowing what gender with words is all about. That stuck in my brain so at least I understood what they meant when using “gender” in French.

To date, I have learned many French words. Some I say okay. The frustration comes in being asked to speak a sentence. When I say what I thought was said and it’s not accepted, I get frustrated as I don’t realize what I did incorrectly. The computer will tell you when the answer is correct or, if the answer was incorrect, what it should have been.

The computer doesn’t tell you how to say the words correctly or what you did which made the produced sound wrong. On some occasions, I’ve been asked to speak a sentence or phrase until it was approved. It felt like 25 repeats, so you feel defeated when it doesn’t work. I’ve also noticed that sometimes the computer says the spoken part was skipped so I figure the volume was set too low and it was never heard on their end.

I have learned that committing a bit of time each day to learn something new is do-able. It is encouraging to read the report at the end of the week to see how many new words were learned.

For Christmas, I made a mobile for Céleste of eight different colours. On one side, I printed the colour in French and on the other side, I printed the colour in English. I will make one for myself and eventually one for Lena too. Hopefully, we can help each other learn to say the colour and will remember it in both languages.

I wasn’t convinced I would learn the French language when I began this journey. I know I’ve learned many words so far and realize it will take a while to get the accents. My family is supportive of this process and I look forward to understanding the girls when they’re talking continuously!

So, what does this have to do with us in our daily walk? I’m reminded how some people are reluctant to join a Bible study group. It seems easier to join a group when it first begins as you feel you’re all starting out the same. During the pandemic, with meetings over Zoom or YouTube, the hesitation can be magnified if you’re not in the know with technology (I know some but don’t understand lots). Then we might feel more anxious as our minds may talk us out of even trying to join a group.

We must remember that getting into a Bible study group helps us glean more from God’s Word as you may hear more than one translation of a section you have difficulty understanding. In my case, our pastor gives the historical background and how Scripture has been fulfilled. I didn’t enjoy history as a child, but as an adult I enjoy understanding the how and the why of what that means for us.

God’s Spirit does help us in reading God’s Word on our own! I guess my point is that I’m more accountable in a group as I commit to a certain time to study with others and we have good discussions too. I would encourage anyone to try group Bible study as pastors usually have lots of resources to explain themes better or Bible project videos which show you pictures while talking about the theme. Let’s dig into God’s Word with our Christian family through church Zoom!

Pat G., Laurentian District


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