I’m tutoring Matt’s colleague’s thirteen year old daughter on Saturdays, practicing oral English. She’s entering an English speech competition and just sent me her speech to review.
As Thanksgiving this week has me in a very American mindset, I found myself thinking, gosh, this sounds so much like Martin Luther King’s I have a dream speech. This is the dream of the next generation of global citizens – in America and in China.
I Hope for a Childhood Which My Father Had
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Last summer, my father brought me to the countryside where he was born and grew up. It was such an unforgettable memory to me. My father pointed out to me so many places where he had a lot of fun in his childhood, the creeks in which he caught fish and crabs, the pond in which he swam, the green grass land where he chased butterflies, the trees under which he enjoyed the beautiful singing of cicadas, the potato field where he dug out potatoes, baked the potatoes with the simple oven he made together with his childhood friends, the small hill where he watched the wonderful moments of the sunrise and sunset, the vast open field where he appreciated the beautiful moon at night! The place where he picked icicles from the gutter of houses! What a happy time! What great fun!
Looking at my city life, I live in a forest of cement, a place with no creeks to catch fish and crabs, a place where I have to swim in the swimming pool in sterilized water, a place where green grass lawn is forbidden to step on, not to mention chasing butterflies on it, a place where there is no singing of cicadas, a place where I have to endure the noise of cars and the machineries on the construction site, a place where sunrise, sunset and moon are blocked by skyscrapers or hidden in fog. What a different childhood I have!
I hope that one day I can have a childhood which my father had! I hope I can live in the countryside one day enjoying all the wonderful moments my father had! I hope that all the beautiful memories of my father will come into my real life one day.
However, when my father heard of my hope, he asked me to take a close look at the creek, the pond, the land, and said to me sadly: those days are gone! Not only you, a city girl cannot have the happy childhood I had, a countryside child in the local place cannot have it, either! Because there are no clean creeks for fish and crabs to live in, there is no clean pond to swim in, all land or field are farmed or developed, and there are no icicles because of the warm winter and global green house effect! What a shame! And what a pity!
I hope that one day those happy times will come back again for you and me, and for our next generation! We must do something! Yes, we can do something! I hope that with your efforts and my efforts together we can recover those happy times! I hope that one day we can recover the happy childhood my father had and pass it to the generation behind me! Make it happen! Yes, we can!