Whether you live in or outside Indonesia, if either you or your spouse is Indonesian, you definitely should consider teaching your children Indonesian language, for these following reasons:
Help with children’s identity as a person
It is important for one to feel a connection to his or her root, despite of age. For Indonesian children who are growing up and living outside Indonesia, learning Indonesian will help your children to develop a positive sense of who they are. With the ability to speak Indonesian, your children will have a lifetime of cultural enrichment opportunities. They will get to discover, immerse, and enjoy anything related to Indonesian culture, such as Indonesian literature, history and even pop culture. It gives them access to discover more of their identity as Indonesians and at the same time to develop pride in who they are as a person.
Ability to bond with other Indonesians
On top of breaking language barriers, being able to speak fluent Indonesian will help your children to foster a sense of belonging in their (Indonesian) community. It helps to strengthen bonds between your children with family relatives and friends that they may rarely see, as your children will be able to participate in family conversations at ease without feeling left out.
Improves study skills
One must never stop learning. Believe it or not, learning language will help your children to develop study skills that will serve them well in the long term. Learning language is an exercise in cognitive problem solving. As your children are learning to master Indonesian, they will also develop skills to think outside the box and other problem solving skills that are easily transferable in many areas of their lives.
Learning Indonesian involves learning about Indonesian culture. By being exposed to Indonesian culture, it will be easy for your children to understand and navigate the moral values and traditions you uphold. How do Indonesians regard their elders, why cohabitation is something you or your spouse may frown upon – your children will be able to understand all of these. It will cost you less (cultural) conflict with your children in the long run if your children have a good understanding of Indonesian culture.
With cultural exposure, comes cultural understanding that leads to cultural competence. The more cultures your children are being exposed to, the more likely they are to be culturally competent. From a pragmatist perspective, cultural competence is a desirable trait to have in the workplace. Your children will get to learn how to network smartly with their Indonesian colleagues or business partners or investors: knowing exactly what is socially acceptable to say and do in certain scenarios and settings. For example: taking the initiative to greet older Indonesian colleagues or partners first or knowing appropriate Indonesian jokes to throw at some social functions.
More business and career opportunity
Even though Indonesian is not yet an international language, but you cannot deny Indonesia tops the emerging market list in Southeast Asia. There has been an increasing demand to learn Indonesian in China, Japan, Thailand and even the Philippines. Indonesia has the fifth largest population in the world, by being able to speak Indonesian, you will get to connect to a market of over 260 million people. Take Singapore for example, more and more prestigious companies in Singapore starting to list ‘fluency in Indonesian’ as one of desirable qualities when it comes to hiring job candidates.
Promotes self-confidence and self-reliance when traveling to Indonesia
Indonesia recently has grown to be a very popular tourist destination thanks to more media exposure of its amazing natural landscapes and beautiful culture. Given to Indonesia’s cheap currency, it is easy to classify Indonesia as a low-cost luxury destination for people all around the world, including Indonesians themselves. There are over 300 ethnic groups in Indonesia, and mastering the national language, Indonesian, will enable your children to appreciate the diversity of Indonesian culture and delight in their travel experience in Indonesia even more. They can travel independently, get better prices at wherever they go, and experience authentic way of living in Indonesia.
Teaching your children Indonesian is no different as teaching your children any other language. But given their “ties” to Indonesia, it is just a matter of time until your children start to reap the benefits of mastering the language. It will open doors more than you can ever imagine, especially these days in the era of globalization and global immigration.