When I was a young girl, my dad became very involved with the Mexican population of our church, and many of them started to come to our house. Unfortunately, my dad was the only one who spoke Spanish at that point, so communication became a little bit of an issue. We learned a few words, but not enough to have a real conversation.
That was about the time that my mom found the perfect solution. We started having game night, and the game we played was Jenga. Jenga doesn’t require a specific language. Instead, it uses cheers, groans and all other noises aside from talking. Even if we’re teasing each other, we could usually figure out what they were trying to say just by the tone of voice.
And of course, you can’t play Jenga without eating ice cream.
It’s a universal language: Jenga and ice cream. We spent several months building strong friendships based off of those two things. Even though most of them moved back home, we still talk about them, and on the rare occasions they come up to my hometown, they always stop by to say hi.
Language doesn’t have to be a barrier. There’s always something that can be done to form friendships and relationships even if they can’t understand one another.