Every Sunday my children attend Farsi language lessons. Although they are only 4 and 6, we thought it would be a good idea to immerse them in the language and culture of Iran for a few hours once a week. Apart from teaching Farsi, the school also offers music lessons, and events are organised to coincide with Iranian festivities. So, it's an excellent place to get to know a bit more about the country and also to meet other Iranians, and make a few new friends. And of course, my daughters have made quite a few friends at the school.
Last Sunday, as I was leaving the school, I heard my girls chatting away to their friends in English. Now, this is not new to me. I've noticed that most children speak Farsi during the lesson, but as soon as they step out of the room, it's English all the way. English with their parents, English among themselves and they even try and speak English to their teacher, who then in turn lectures us parents about speaking Farsi at home to the children.
What was different this week was that as we left the school, our girls started to speak English to us as well. I was amazed. We take them there to learn Farsi, and they are actually picking up their friends' habit of speaking English to their parents! This made me reflect on the power of friendships and peer pressure in general.
As a parent, it's so hard to compete with peer pressure; I've often observed how my little girls, who are typically very good on the road, completely loose it and run in the middle of the road after their friends. This paralyses me, not only because of the immediate danger, but because of what I fear they will be like as teenagers, when my opinion will matter so much less than their friends'.