Taking a Copy

“What took you so long in there?” I asked Brooklyn after I came to a complete stop so she could get in the van. I was in the middle of the 2nd point of a 3 point turn when she began to tap on the window for me to open the van door. Still rolling.

Should I take a copy of this song?

Should I take a copy of this song?

“There were some girls who weren’t there last week, so I had to wait for them to take a copy of this piece of paper.”

You catch that? Nope, it is not a typo. My daughter, as she always does, referred to someone taking a copy instead of making a copy.

“Taking, making! It’s the same thing!”

I assured her that it was definitely not the same thing, and that’s when she said, “But taking just sounds better.”

Not to me, and probably not to most of you who are reading this. It sounds strange and foreign. Because it is.

In Portuguese you “tirar” or literally translated to the English “take” a copy. You don’t “fazer” or make a copy.

All day long our kids speak, think, respond…well, live in Portuguese. They get home, and the English lessons start.

Sometimes, I waffle between correcting them or just letting it slide, but then I think about a friend of mine who grew up and lived his whole life in the sticks. He was and still is a country boy through and through. I love him dearly, mostly because he has a heart for the Lord Jesus.

He’s the kind of guy that when you first greet him, you want to ask, “How’s Em doing?” Em?

Yeah, Momma ‘n ’em. (For you non-southerners, that is short for Mom and them. Whoever them might be.)

While eating together several years ago, I corrected one of my kids for their improper grammar. It was probably either Faith or Brooklyn, and he was astounded, saying, “My goodness she’s just 3 years old.”

I explained, if I don’t correct her now, she’ll talk like that for her entire life.

He thought for a minute, and with absolutely no sarcasm or guile wondered aloud, “Oh, I guess that’s what happened to me.”

Whenever I get tired of correcting my kids’ grammar, that is my remedy.

One of these days our kids will go back to the States, and as badly as some mothers or fathers fear their child being in a car wreck with dirty underwear, I fear my kids asking their college professor if they can go take a copy of their exam.

Mom, can I stay with this stick, please?

Mom, can I stay with this stick, please?

Or, if they can “stay with” the book for another day. Translation? Stay with=keep.

Last night Trin announced to everyone that she thinks Liberty has, “a very bad letter.” She meant her handwriting is poor.

It’s just what happens when you translate things literally, or word for word from one language to another. It can be bewildering to outsiders. At times it is hilarious. But mostly it’s a daily reminder that, as one friend and veteran missionary likes to say,

Fish trying to swim upstream.

Or, as others put it, missionaries, but especially their kids, live in an alternate 3rd culture. Stuck somewhere between America and Portugal or whatever country they’re serving in. (More on that tomorrow.)

It’s not bad or wrong. It’s just reality. It’s a very small sacrifice for the privilege of being a special ambassador in a foreign land. It’s what missionaries do. It’s who they are, but for me, that’s no excuse for not teaching my kids or preparing them for the difficulties and culture shock that they may encounter on re-entry to their original culture.

  • Mom

    Keep up the good work, son. They will be glad you did someday when they are living in the US again. Or, as Mamaw fears, speak proper English as the wife of a Portugese man.

    • http://cbcpm.net Michael

      Is that what Mamaw really thinks will happen? As long as they marry someone who loves Jesus and tries to love them as He loves the church, as a father, I’ll be satisfied, no matter what language they speak or where they are from.

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