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“Bite Your Tongue”与“Pick Your Battles”

(2009-04-17 02:29:11)
标签:

做聪明的父母

育儿

分类: 育女新经

“Bite Your Tongue”与“Pick Your Battles” 

 

如果有一天你十三岁的女儿告诉你她要把头发染成橙色,你会作何反应呢?

我基本上能想象出我的反应:我可能会竭力反对,也许还会大发雷霆。我会反思为什么我的女儿会变成这样,我会开始怀疑她在和什么人来往,我会立刻赶去学校和她的老师交换意见……

 

你呢?

 

Joe Kelly,是一对双胞胎女儿的父亲,也是一位致力于父女关系研究和女孩教育的专家,他的工作曾经被美国的各大媒体报道,包括美国无线电台、哥伦比亚广播公司、美国广播公司、《人物》杂志、《今日美国》杂志和《时代》杂志。并在1995年获得了美国《育儿》杂志颁发的“育儿成就奖”。他在其撰写的新书《爸爸们和女儿们——当你的女儿快速成长时,如何激励、理解、支持她》(Dads and Daughters : How to Inspire, Understand, and Support Your Daughter When She's Growing Up So Fast)中,谈到了当他遇到这个问题的处理态度:

 

Perhaps every father should be issued a football mouthguard when his daughter is born, since he's liable to spend the next few decades biting his tongue.

在女儿出生的时候,也许该给每个初为人父的爸爸都发一个足球运动员的护齿套,因为在接下来的几十年里,他可能会常常咬自己的舌头。

When my daughter Nia was thirteen, she announced that she was going to dye her hair orange. In the following split second, a volcano of emotions and objections exploded in my gut. If, at the last possible instant, I hadn't bitten my tongue, here's what I would have blurted out:

我的女儿Nia十三岁的时候,她宣布要把自己的头发染成橙色。听到这个消息后的一瞬间,我内心的反对情绪就好像火山一样爆发了。如果不是在最后一刹那我咬住了自己的舌头的话,我可能会脱口说出下面的话:

1. Oh no, you don't! No daughter of mine is going to look like a freak or a punk!

噢,不,不行! 我的女儿可不能看起来像个怪物或者阿飞。

2. What is wrong with you?

你发什么神经?

3. You're so pretty; don't mess it up.

你很漂亮,别把自己搞得乱七八糟的。

4. For years I've been working so hard to instill in you that your appearance doesn't matter as much as what's inside. And this is how you repay me? First, you start wearing a little makeup (without telling me) and now you want to dye your hair? And dye it orange?!?

这么多年来我一直在向你灌输外貌根本没有内在重要。这就是你给我的回报吗?!一开始,你开始化妆(还没有告诉我),现在你又想染头发?还要染成橙色?!

5. I'm a failure as a father. You have completely caved in to seventh-grade peer pressure.

我是一个失败的父亲。你完全屈服于你那些七年级同伴的压力了。

6. How dare you dye your hair without asking my permission first?

你怎么敢没征得我的同意就染头发?!

7. What's happening to my little girl?

我的小宝贝怎么了?

Fortunately for me (and both of my daughters), another, louder voice caught my internal ear just before I opened my mouth to let her have it. That voice cried: Pick your battles! I thought to myself, It's only her hair. How much energy did my father and I waste arguing about the length of my hair at thirteen? What real difference does it make? At least she told me and didn't just show up with an orange fait accompli.

对我和我女儿来说都很幸运的是,在我开口说话以前,另一个更强的声音在我心底告诉我,让她去做。这个声音对我说:别小题大做!我告诉自己,这只是她的头发。我十三岁的时候我父亲和我浪费了多少精力来争论我头发应该多长?这到底有什么区别呢?至少她预先告诉了我而不是既成事实的出现在我面前。

And then, finally, my teeth freed my tongue and out came a sparkling, insightful response.

然后,我的牙齿终于松开了我的舌头,然后做出了一个了不起的,有见地的回答:

 "Oh," I said. "When?"

"We're gonna do it tomorrow night after school."

"Oh," I said (repeating my eloquence while scrambling for what to say next). "What are you using?"

 "Stuff from Walgreen's. It washes out after seven showers or something."

     "Oh," I replied (Tip 1: Once you discover a good fathering phrase, keep using it), "okay."

“哦”,我说:“什么时候?”

“明天晚上放学以后。”

“哦,”我说(重复这个词的时候,我拼命思索着接下来该说什么):“你用什么来染头发呢?”

“从 Walgreen(沃尔格林,美国著名的药品和食品零售商店)买的东西。这东西洗七次头以后就会没了”。

“哦”,我回答说(第一条建议:一旦你发现了一条好的“父亲用的短语”时,你要坚持用它),“好吧。”

I still wasn't happy about the idea of orange hair, but I decided not to raise a stink. I also decided not to be terrifically supportive-or even hang around the house-when the deed was done. The next day after school, though, my curiosity won out. I went to the bathroom to watch as Nia sat on the edge on the tub with an old towel draped over her shoulders. Her sister, Mavis, donned clear plastic gloves, squeezed some garish goo out of a tube, and started working it into Nia's wet hair. The whole scene looked a bit wild and ridiculous. Again I had to bite my tongue, this time to keep from giggling.

她要将头发染成橙色的想法仍然让我很不高兴。但是我决定不要和她争吵。我也决定当她染头发的时候,不要显得好像很支持她似的——或者干脆别回家,在附近游荡一会儿。

但是第二天她们放学以后,我的好奇心占了上风。我跑到浴室去看,看到Nia 肩上披着一条旧毛巾,坐在浴盆边上。她姐姐Mavis 戴着一双透明塑料手套,从一条软管里挤出一些黏糊糊的、色彩耀眼的东西,然后涂在Nia 湿漉漉的头发上。 整个场面看上去古怪和荒唐。 我不得不又一次咬住自己的舌头——但这次是害怕自己吃吃的笑出声来。

The girls were having fun, but also taking the task quite seriously. In addition, they kept their antennae up for objections or snide comments from Mom or Dad. Since it was their first time mounting such an elaborate home beauty salon, there were false starts and several "Oops! Gotta try it again" moments. Soon, all four of us were giggling and I goofily stuck my head over to see if they'd put some dye in my thinning hair. That's the moment when Mom snapped a photograph that I now have framed on my bookshelf.

女儿们玩儿的很高兴,但是她们也是很认真的在做这件事。除此以外,他们也小心地等待着来自妈妈或爸爸的反对或含沙射影的评论。由于这是他们第一次安排一个如此精心设计的“家庭美容院”,当然免不了犯错,浴室里不时传来“糟糕,得再来一次”的声音。很快,我们一家四口都格格的笑了起来,我还傻乎乎的把头伸过去看看她们会不会把染发剂涂在我稀稀疏疏的头发上。就是在这一刻,妈妈抓拍了一张照片。我把这张照片配上相框放在了我的书架上。

In the years since, this photo has accompanied numerous media stories about my work and me. Magazine and newspapers choose it because it's a funny, animated image. But it's important to me because it captures a significant moment in my development as the father of daughters. In twenty-four hours, I'd journeyed from wanting to angrily reject Nia's decision to accepting-and even enjoying-her choice. Dyeing hair in the bathroom may not seem like a major turning point in anyone's life, but in that minor moment, I discovered a major capacity to accept how Nia's journey is different than mine-because she is a girl.

从那以后的很多年里,这张照片出现在了很多关于我的工作和我本人的媒体报道中。那些报纸和杂志选择这张照片是因为他们觉得这张照片是一幅生动有趣的图像。但是对我来说,最重要的是这张照片捕捉到了我生命中意义重大的一刻,在那一刻,我作为女儿们的父亲,有了很大的进步。

一天之内,我跨越了一大步:从想要愤怒的拒绝女儿的决定到接受甚至享受她的选择。在浴室中染头发看起来不太可能成为人生中重要的转折点,但是在那个并不重要的时刻,我却学会了一个重要的能力:接受Nia的生活轨迹与我的生活历程是如此的不同——因为她是一个女孩子。

My daughters' concern with their appearance was not as intense as many of their peers, but it was real and important to them. Even though I didn't really understand why they cared so much about how they looked-and passionately wished that they would care not at all-I needed to accept that they cared in order to accept them.

我的女儿们对她们外貌的关切程度,不如她们的同伴那么强烈,但是对她们来说也是很现实的、重要的。尽管我无法真正理解为什么她们如此在乎外貌——其实我很热切的希望她们完全不要在乎——但是为了接受她们,我也得接受他们她们在乎的东西。

Even better, while participating in the silly bathroom scene, I began to celebrate how my daughters and their journeys are their own, not mine. Freed from my initial, enraged knee-jerk reaction, I saw that Nia's orange-dye decision sprang less from peer pressure than from experimenting with who she wants to be. I was proud of how womanly the girls acted by doing all the dyeing themselves-and was also secretly happy when Nia's dark brown hair so overpowered the orange dye that it required a little white lie to say, "Oh, of course I can see it!"

更妙的是,当我融入那个傻傻的“浴室事件”的时候,我也开始庆祝我女儿们和她们的人生旅程是属于她们自己的,而不是我的。我明白了Nia的染发决定是出于她想试验一下她希望成为的人是什么样子,而不是出于同伴的压力。所有的染发的过程都是她们自己完成的,这一过程中她们表现出来的女人味让我感到骄傲。而看到Nia深棕色的头发本色其实盖住了橙色染剂的的时候,我不禁心中窃喜,对她撒了一个善意的谎言:“哦,当然我看得到你染的橙色。”

Today I treasure this snapshot because it shows my girls' independence, my faith in their judgment, and how much I enjoy being their father. I also treasure it because it reminds me how different it is to be a girl.

今天,我珍视这张抓拍的照片,因为它显示了我的女儿们的独立性,显示了我对她们判断能力的信任,也显示了作为她们的父亲,我是多么的乐在其中。我珍视它,也因为它时时提醒着我,一个女孩子与男孩子是多么的不同。

 

我并不认为美国的教育方法比中国的先进(教育的普及和发展程度并不代表教育方法的先进程度)。美国与中国国情、文化的不同,也决定了两国父母对待这个问题时态度不可能完全一致。但是美国老师、父母对待孩子力求尊敬、平等的态度确实是我们值得学习的地方。Joe Kelly的这段话,让我看到了一个聪明的父亲。

因为爱好、习惯、价值观和人生观的不同而与孩子发生直接的剧烈碰撞好像的确是不明智的。父亲大发雷霆竭力反对的结果除了带来一场家庭战争外,确实不可能收到任何实质性的效果。然而中国家庭的父亲(包括我)出于传统的教育思想和面子观点,常常非常希望孩子“顺从”,希望孩子按照我们预设的轨迹走下去,一旦这种要求无法得到满足,则可能会表现得很急躁,而急躁的结果往往带来逆反和孩子变本加厉的回击。教育孩子,是因为对她们的爱,如果最后的结果竟然是两败俱伤,真的不够聪明。

 

翻译这篇文章的时候,有两个短语给我留下了很深的印象。“bite your tongue”和 “pick your battles”。

“bite your tongue”不多说了。在那些可能会伤害孩子感情并且于事无补的话脱口而出之前,先“咬住自己的舌头”。这是一个说来容易做来难的事情,我不知道我是不是能永远做到这一点,但是我希望我能尽量时时调整自己对孩子的心态。

“pick your battles”,翻译时这个短语我看不懂。遍查能找到英汉词典,都无所获。最后是在一个美国的英文教学论坛上才看到对它的解释,我将其译为“别小题大做”也许并不是很贴切;可能“睁一只眼闭一只眼”稍微接近一点。英文原文的解释是:

It means to not argue everything, every point, every issue. Rather, focus on what will help you achieve overall victory.

它的意思是不要在每一件事情上争论不休,不要纠缠于每一个细节。相反,将注意力集中在能令你取得全面胜利的事情上。

这真是一个聪明的想法!很多人也许会说,这是生活的常识,可是我并不确定我有没有把这个“常识”很好的运用在对女儿的教育上。它倒是提醒我,今后少对女儿划一些条条框框,不要事无巨细的为她操心,也许才是一个聪明的父亲的做法。

 

我到现在仍然无法接受悠悠在进入大学前染头发,我也并不完全理解Joe Kelly那种可以很快转变的感受。我知道将来我和女儿之间将不可避免的出现不同的观点和态度。怎么做才是真的对她好?我把这篇文章翻译出来,写下这段文字,是想要常常提醒自己:要做一个聪明的父亲。

 

 

 

 

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