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奥巴马在父亲节讲话

Good morning. It's good to be home on this Father's Day with my girls, and it's an honor to spend some time with all of you today in the house of our Lord.

Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation. They are teachers and coaches. They are mentors and role models. They are examples of success and the men who constantly push us toward it.

But if we are honest with ourselves, we'll admit that what too many fathers also are is missing – missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.

You and I know how true this is in the African-American community. We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households, a number that has doubled – doubled – since we were children. We know the statistics – that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.

How many times in the last year has this city lost a child at the hands of another child? How many times have our hearts stopped in the middle of the night with the sound of a gunshot or a siren? How many teenagers have we seen hanging around on street corners when they should be sitting in a classroom? How many are sitting in prison when they should be working, or at least looking for a job? How many in this generation are we willing to lose to poverty or violence or addiction? How many?

Yes, we need more cops on the street. Yes, we need fewer guns in the hands of people who shouldn't have them. Yes, we need more money for our schools, and more outstanding teachers in the classroom, and more afterschool programs for our children. Yes, we need more jobs and more job training and more opportunity in our communities.

But we also need families to raise our children. We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child – it's the courage to raise one.

We need to help all the mothers out there who are raising these kids by themselves; the mothers who drop them off at school, go to work, pick up them up in the afternoon, work another shift, get dinner, make lunches, pay the bills, fix the house, and all the other things it takes both parents to do. So many of these women are doing a heroic job, but they need support. They need another parent. Their children need another parent. That's what keeps their foundation strong. It's what keeps the foundation of our country strong.

I know what it means to have an absent father, although my circumstances weren't as tough as they are for many young people today. Even though my father left us when I was two years old, and I only knew him from the letters he wrote and the stories that my family told, I was luckier than most. I grew up in Hawaii, and had two wonderful grandparents from Kansas who poured everything they had into helping my mother raise my sister and me – who worked with her to teach us about love and respect and the obligations we have to one another. I screwed up more often than I should've, but I got plenty of second chances. And even though we didn't have a lot of money, scholarships gave me the opportunity to go to some of the best schools in the country. A lot of kids don't get these chances today. There is no margin for error in their lives. So my own story is different in that way.

Still, I know the toll that being a single parent took on my mother – how she struggled at times to the pay bills; to give us the things that other kids had; to play all the roles that both parents are supposed to play. And I know the toll it took on me. So I resolved many years ago that it was my obligation to break the cycle – that if I could be anything in life, I would be a good father to my girls; that if I could give them anything, I would give them that rock – that foundation – on which to build their lives. And that would be the greatest gift I could offer.

I say this knowing that I have been an imperfect father – knowing that I have made mistakes and will continue to make more; wishing that I could be home for my girls and my wife more than I am right now. I say this knowing all of these things because even as we are imperfect, even as we face difficult circumstances, there are still certain lessons we must strive to live and learn as fathers – whether we are black or white; rich or poor; from the South Side or the wealthiest suburb.

The first is setting an example of excellence for our children – because if we want to set high expectations for them, we've got to set high expectations for ourselves. It's great if you have a job; it's even better if you have a college degree. It's a wonderful thing if you are married and living in a home with your children, but don't just sit in the house and watch “SportsCenter” all weekend long. That's why so many children are growing up in front of the television. As fathers and parents, we've got to spend more time with them, and help them with their homework, and replace the video game or the remote control with a book once in awhile. That's how we build that foundation.

We know that education is everything to our children's future. We know that they will no longer just compete for good jobs with children from Indiana, but children from India and 中国 and all over the world. We know the work and the studying and the level of education that requires.

You know, sometimes I'll go to an eighth-grade graduation and there's all that pomp and circumstance and gowns and flowers. And I think to myself, it's just eighth grade. To really compete, they need to graduate high school, and then they need to graduate college, and they probably need a graduate degree too. An eighth-grade education doesn't cut it today. Let's give them a handshake and tell them to get their butts back in the library!

It's up to us – as fathers and parents – to instill this ethic of excellence in our children. It's up to us to say to our daughters, don't ever let images on TV tell you what you are worth, because I expect you to dream without limit and reach for those goals. It's up to us to tell our sons, those songs on the radio may glorify violence, but in my house we live glory to achievement, self respect, and hard work. It's up to us to set these high expectations. And that means meeting those expectations ourselves. That means setting examples of excellence in our own lives.

The second thing we need to do as fathers is pass along the value of empathy to our children. Not sympathy, but empathy – the ability to stand in somebody else's shoes; to look at the world through their eyes. Sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in “us,” that we forget about our obligations to one another. There's a culture in our society that says remembering these obligations is somehow soft – that we can't show weakness, and so therefore we can't show kindness.

But our young boys and girls see that. They see when you are ignoring or mistreating your wife. They see when you are inconsiderate at home; or when you are distant; or when you are thinking only of yourself. And so it's no surprise when we see that behavior in our schools or on our streets. That's why we pass on the values of empathy and kindness to our children by living them. We need to show our kids that you're not strong by putting other people down – you're strong by lifting them up. That's our responsibility as fathers.

And by the way – it's a responsibility that also extends to Washington. Because if fathers are doing their part; if they're taking our responsibilities seriously to be there for their children, and set high expectations for them, and instill in them a sense of excellence and empathy, then our government should meet them halfway.

We should be making it easier for fathers who make responsible choices and harder for those who avoid them. We should get rid of the financial penalties we impose on married couples right now, and start making sure that every dime of child support goes directly to helping children instead of some bureaucrat. We should reward fathers who pay that child support with job training and job opportunities and a larger Earned Income Tax Credit that can help them pay the bills. We should expand programs where registered nurses visit expectant and new mothers and help them learn how to care for themselves before the baby is born and what to do after – programs that have helped increase father involvement, women's employment, and children's readiness for school. We should help these new families care for their children by expanding maternity and paternity leave, and we should guarantee every worker more paid sick leave so they can stay home to take care of their child without losing their income.

We should take all of these steps to build a strong foundation for our children. But we should also know that even if we do; even if we meet our obligations as fathers and parents; even if Washington does its part too, we will still face difficult challenges in our lives. There will still be days of struggle and heartache. The rains will still come and the winds will still blow.

And that is why the final lesson we must learn as fathers is also the greatest gift we can pass on to our children – and that is the gift of hope.

I'm not talking about an idle hope that's little more than blind optimism or willful ignorance of the problems we face. I'm talking about hope as that spirit inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better is waiting for us if we're willing to work for it and fight for it. If we are willing to believe.

I was answering questions at a town hall meeting in Wisconsin the other day and a young man raised his hand, and I figured he'd ask about college tuition or energy or maybe the war in Iraq. But instead he looked at me very seriously and he asked, “What does life mean to you?”

Now, I have to admit that I wasn't quite prepared for that one. I think I stammered for a little bit, but then I stopped and gave it some thought, and I said this:

When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me – how do I make my way in the world, and how do I become successful and how do I get the things that I want.

But now, my life revolves around my two little girls. And what I think about is what kind of world I'm leaving them. Are they living in a county where there's a huge gap between a few who are wealthy and a whole bunch of people who are struggling every day? Are they living in a county that is still divided by race? A country where, because they're girls, they don't have as much opportunity as boys do? Are they living in a country where we are hated around the world because we don't cooperate effectively with other nations? Are they living a world that is in grave danger because of what we've done to its climate?

And what I've realized is that life doesn't count for much unless you're willing to do your small part to leave our children – all of our children – a better world. Even if it's difficult. Even if the work seems great. Even if we don't get very far in our lifetime.

That is our ultimate responsibility as fathers and parents. We try. We hope. We do what we can to build our house upon the sturdiest rock. And when the winds come, and the rains fall, and they beat upon that house, we keep faith that our Father will be there to guide us, and watch over us, and protect us, and lead His children through the darkest of storms into light of a better day. That is my prayer for all of us on this Father's Day, and that is my hope for this country in the years ahead. May God Bless you and your children. Thank you.

 

“在我们建立我们生活所依附的岩石中,今天我们要记起来的是,最重要的岩石是家庭。我们须要认识到并予以肯定的是,每位父亲对这个基础能起多么关键的作用。父亲是教师和教练,他们是导师和生活角色的模范,是成功的榜样,亦是老推动我们走向成功的人。
“但如果我们坦诚的话,我们应该承认有太多的父亲不在其位——不在太多人的生活里,不在太多的家里。他们置他们的责任于不顾,表现得像小男孩而不是男子汉。我们许许多多家庭的基础也因此而变得更加薄弱了。
“你我都知道这种情况在非洲裔美国人的社会里多么真实。我们知道一半以上的黑人小孩住在单亲家庭里,这个数字比我们童年时代高出一倍。统计资料告诉我们:生活里没有父亲的孩子比较容易落入贫困或犯罪的可能性高出五倍;他们比较容易弃学的可能性高出九倍;比较容易关进监狱的可能性高出二十倍。他们比较可能出现行为问题,比较可能离家出走,比较可能成为青春发育年龄期父母。由于父亲的缺席,我们社会的基础变得更加薄弱。
……
“但我们也需要家庭来抚育我们的子女。我们需要父亲们能认识到做父亲的责任并不终止于导致怀孕。我们需要他们认识到,不是有生孩子的能力,而是有抚养孩子的勇气才配称男子汉。

  

    “我们需要帮助那些正在靠自己抚养孩子的母亲。她们送孩子上学,去上班,下午接孩子回家,再上一次班,做饭和准备午餐饭盒,付帐单,打点家务,以及种种需要双亲干的工作。许许多多的妇女正干着这些英勇伟大的工作,但她们需要支持啊。她们需要另一个家长。她们的孩子也需要另一个家长。唯有如此他们才有牢靠的基础,我们的国家也才有牢靠的基础。
“我知道身边没有一个父亲的苦处,当然我的处境没有像今天许多年轻人的处境那么不幸。虽然我的父亲在我两岁时就离开了我们,而我只从他所写的信和我家庭讲到他的故事中了解到他,但我比大多数无父的小孩都幸运。我在夏威夷长大,我有两个来自堪萨斯州的外祖父母,他们尽他们的一切帮我母亲抚养我和我妹妹,也帮她教导我们对人要有爱心、尊重和有责任感。我做错过许多不应做错的事,但我获得了许多改过自新的机会。虽然我们没有很多钱,但奖学金让我有机会上我们国家一些最好的学校。今天很多小孩未能获得这些机会。他们的生活中不容他们有犯错误而改过自新的机会。所以在这一点上我个人的故事与他们是不同的。
“尽管如此,我了解我母亲作为一个单亲所要付出的艰辛:有时候她吃力挣扎着清还账单;挣扎着给我们那些别的孩子有的东西;挣扎着扮演应该由双亲扮演的角色。我也知道因此我所要付出的艰辛。所以我多年前已下定决心要打破这个恶性循环——我下定决心,如果我一生中有何成就的话,我要作为我女儿的好父亲;如果我能给予她们任何东西的话,我要给她们那个她们能建立她们生活的岩石——那个基础。那将是我所能给予她们的最贵重的礼物。
“我在讲这些话时,我心里明白我是一个缺点多多的父亲——我知道我犯过错误并且将仍不断地犯更多错误;我希望我能比现在有更多时间在家陪伴我女儿和太太,可是又做不到。我心里明白这一切,因为纵然我们缺点多多,纵然我们困难重重,有某些教训是我们为父的应该尽可能地去亲历和总结的——不管我们是黑人或白人;富人或穷人;来自“南边”区(芝加哥南部较穷的住宅区)或来自富裕的郊区。
“第一个教训是给我们的子女做出一个绝佳的榜样,因为如果我们对他们抱有很高的期望,我们对自己也应该抱有同样高的期望。你有一个职业是件好事;有一个大学文凭更好一些。结了婚而又能跟孩子住在一起是再好不过了,但却不能只坐在家里而整个周末看电视的“体育中心”节目。许多孩子就是因为有这样的父亲而在电视机前成长起来的。作为父亲和家长,我们应该花更多时间在他们身上,帮他们完成作业,时不时让他们抛开电脑游戏或遥控器而捧上一本书。这就是我们要建立那个基础所应做的事。
“我们明白学校教育是孩子未来的关键。我们明白他们不再是只跟印地安那州的孩子竞争获取未来的好职业,而是跟印度、跟中国、跟世界各地的孩子竞争。我们明白为此所需的努力、学习和教育水平。
“你知道吗,有时候我去参加八年级(初中)毕业典礼,那里张灯结彩、花团锦簇、学生一个个礼服盛装。我在想,那只不过初中毕业呗。要想真正参与竞争,他们必须高中毕业,然后必须大学毕业,也许还得拿一张研究生文凭呢。在今天,只完成初中教育是竞争不过人的。让我们握一握他们的手,叫他们把屁股移到图书馆的座椅上吧!
“如果我们要把这种追求卓越的精神输进我们孩子脑里的话,就得靠作为父亲和家长的我们了。要靠我们告诉我们的女孩,别让你的自身价值被电视上的形象所操纵影响,因为我要你能做你最大的梦,去为之而奋斗。要靠我们告诉我们的男孩,收音机里的歌曲有美化暴力的可能,但在我家里我们的生活是为了美化成就、美化自尊、美化辛勤的劳动。让他们知道我们对他们抱有这些期望就全靠我们。这也就是说,我们自己也得达到这些期望的水平,我们在生活中也要做个追求卓越的榜样。
“第二个教训是,我们为父所应做的是传给我们孩子对人应有同感empathy的人生价值。不是同情,而是同感——即能设身处地地为人着想,将心比心;能透过别人的眼观世界。有时候我们是那么容易地执著于“我们”,而忘了我们相互之间所应承担的义务。我们的社会有这么一种文化(流行的看法),认为牢记我们相互之间所应承担的义务是一种软弱的表现,因此我们不应该对人表示关爱。
“但我们年轻的男孩女孩都会观察到这一切。他们会观察到你不理会或虐待你的妻子;会观察到你在家不为别人着想的表现;会观察到你的冷漠无情;会观察到你只为一己之私着想。所以,我们在学校或在街上会看到这些同样的行为表现是不足为奇的。这就是为什么我们必须以身作则来把同感和关爱这些人生价值传给我们的孩子。我们须要给他们做出这样的榜样——强者不是把别人击倒而是把别人扶起来,这才是强者。这就是我们为父的所应负起的责任。”
……
接下去奥巴马谈到政府应如何帮助尽责的父亲和所应采取的措施。然后他接着说道:
“我们应该采取这一切措施来为我们的孩子建立一个坚实的基础。但我们也必须明白,即使我们做到这一切,既使我们做父亲和家长的尽了我们的义务,即使华盛顿政府履其职责,我们在生活中仍然会碰到许多艰难的挑战。人将仍会有挣扎与痛苦的日子。风仍会在吹,雨仍会在打。
“因此最后我们为父的应总结的教训,也是我们可以传给我们孩子最贵重的礼物,就是希望这个礼物。
“我讲的希望不是空谈的希望——那种类似盲目的乐观主义或对问题不加考虑的盲干。我讲的希望是那种寄托于我们内心的精神——即坚信在逆境中我们只要愿意为之努力而奋斗,就会有更好的事在等待着我们。只要我们有这个信念啊。
“前一天我在威斯康星州的一个市政厅座谈会上回答问题。有一个年轻人举起手,我猜想他想问的是有关大学学费、能源问题或者也许有关伊拉克战争。但他不问这些,却很严肃地瞪着我问道:‘生活对你有何意义?’
“欸,我必须承认我对这个问题毫无准备。我当时开始回答得有点结巴,然后我停下来,想了一会儿就说道:
“我年轻的时候,我想到的生活就是关于我——我如何为自己在世界闯出一条路来,我如何取得成功,以及我如何获得我所要的东西。
“但现在,我的生活围绕着我的两个小女儿。我想到的是我要留给她们一个什么样的世界。她们应该生活在一个只有一小拨人富有而一大拨人为了生存而必须每天挣扎的国家吗?她们应该生活在一个依旧有种族歧视的国家吗?生活在一个由于她们是女孩而不能享有与男孩同样多机会的国家吗?她们应该生活在一个由于我们不能与其他国家有效地合作而被世人所讨厌的国家吗?她们应该生活在一个由于我们对气候所造成的不良影响而出现严重危机的世界吗?
“我所深刻认识到的是,你如果不愿意为我们的孩子——所有我们的孩子,作出一丁点贡献而留下一个更美好世界的话,生活就没有多大价值。哪怕这很困难,哪怕所要做的工作有多艰巨,哪怕在我们一生中所能做到的还远离目标甚远。
“这就是我们做父亲和做家长的最重大的责任。我们尝试,我们希望,我们尽力把我们的房子建在一个最坚实的岩石上。风吹雨打时,让风雨吹打房屋吧,我们坚信我们的主会领导我们,看着我们,保护着我们,带领着祂的孩子穿过暴风雨的极度黑暗而走向更美好未来的光明。这就是今天父亲节我为我们大家作的祈祷,也是我对我们国家将来所抱有的希望。原上帝保佑您和您们的孩子。谢谢大家。”

At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus closes by saying, “Whoever hears these words of mine, and does them, shall be likened to a wise man who built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.” [Matthew 7: 24-25]

Here at Apostolic, you are blessed to worship in a house that has been founded on the rock of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. But it is also built on another rock, another foundation – and that rock is Bishop Arthur Brazier. In forty-eight years, he has built this congregation from just a few hundred to more than 20,000 strong – a congregation that, because of his leadership, has braved the fierce winds and heavy rains of violence and poverty; joblessness and hopelessness. Because of his work and his ministry, there are more graduates and fewer gang members in the neighborhoods surrounding this church. There are more homes and fewer homeless. There is more community and less chaos because Bishop Brazier continued the march for justice that he began by Dr. King's side all those years ago. He is the reason this house has stood tall for half a century. And on this Father's Day, it must make him proud to know that the man now charged with keeping its foundation strong is his son and your new pastor, Reverend Byron Brazier.

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