Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Today get four things that Lindsay learned about life, communication, and connection from a week with a two-year-old.

Get the lessons that you can learn and apply in your life for better connections and a happier life.

  • #1: Mimic and repeat what you hear in your head: My niece repeats everything she hears. This is helping her to learn vocabulary and understand the rhythm of American English. I tried mimicking and repeating Spanish silently in my head while I was learning the language and that’s why I was able to develop a good accent and learn quickly. Give this a try! Listen to natives, mimic what they say and repeat it silently in your head. It will give you a huge advantage with pronunciation and sentence structure. It will make you an insider with the language.


  • #2: Find a hero that you admire: My niece had a favorite character in the book Where the Wild Things Are named Max. She wanted to read about this character all of the time. As an English learner you should find a character that you admire who is a native speaker. It could be a famous person like Oprah or Tim Ferris. Follow that person on the media and consume the media that they put out. This will make you less self conscious because you are focusing on someone else and not on yourself.


  • #3: Start a conversation by making it about someone else: We had a hard time getting my niece into the bathtub.  She was upset so we brought her book and her baby into the bathroom. She looked at the book and started reading it. Eventually she forgot that she was upset and calmed down. This works with adults too. If you start a conversation by letting the person know how the topic is relevant to them you can connect faster and on a deeper level.


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  • #4: Default to friendliness: My niece greets everyone when they walk by. As an adult English learner you can also go through life in a friendly way. You can say hello to more people. You can offer a kind smile. This might be a good way to start more conversations in English also.


  • #5: Engage in the world with your whole body: Learn English using your whole body and life, not just your mind and your textbook. Find ways to travel and learn English on the cheap.  Use podcasts. Find a language exchange. Join a running club in English. Join a dance night in English. Don’t just sit in a classroom with a textbook.


What have you learned about life and human connection from children?

Let us know in the comments below.

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