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A Word on Advice

2005-11-24 00:00CRI

    Webster defines advice as being, "a recommendation with regard to a course of action."

    韦氏字典给“建议”一词定义如下:“对某行为提出意见或忠告。”

    The expression, "I need some advice" has to be one of the most horrifying statements in the English language. What makes it remarkably terrifying is that the advisor is usually confronted with it out of the blue and with little or no warning. My daughter is an expert at this. Lately I have been able to predict when she will call. It usually happens when I am having the type of day when everything seems to be going well. I am actually relaxed with few things that have to be done. It is almost as if I send out a signal to her that I am ready for the challenge. The call always begins with the expression, "Dad". The word is not as important as how it is stated. It sounds like a question being asked by someone who does not want to be heard. In other words, it is a little quieter than a whisper. I know she knows it is I, because she did the calling and I am confident that she knows the sound of my voice. It is almost as if the word is a signal that I had better be ready.

    “我需要点建议”是英文中一句很耸人听闻的言辞,之所以用“耸人听闻”一词是因为给建议的人总是在没有任何先兆的情况下面对一些未知的事情。我的女儿是这方面的专家。最近我总能掐算到她什么时候会打电话给我,电话铃总是在风平浪静的日子里响起。我对逃避不了的事情总是泰然处之,就好象我总在向女儿发出我整装待发的信号。“爸爸”,电话那头通常用这样的开场白,其实这个称呼并没有它听起来那么伟大。那声音比耳语还要轻微,好象提出了问题却又不愿被人听见似的。其实她知道我是谁,是她拨的电话,而我确信她听出了我的声音,而“爸爸”两个字就好象明摆着我最好要准备妥当。

    When my daughter was small I looked forward to giving her advice. In fact, I sincerely believe that she also enjoyed it. For the most important thing a Dad can do is get his child ready for life. Not that I ever thought I was ready but at least I have been able to survive my years, so far. She used to sit real close to me or on my lap and I would explain the mysteries of life to her. I would tell her of morals and ethics that made life as good as it can possibly be. Years later, when my daughter hit the wonderful teenaged years, she didn't accept my advice as she did in the past. In fact, she obviously dreaded it. However, I gave it to her anyway because I wanted her to survive her teenaged years. I survived them so why shouldn't she listen to me and take in the knowledge that I had from the experiences of my past. For years she never came to me for advice but I continued to submit it. Now that I think of it, my father did the same.

    当女儿还很小的时候,我很渴望给她建议。事实上,我坚信她会很乐意接受。一名父亲最重要的职责就是让孩子能准备充分地面对生活。倒不是说我就准备好了,但至少这么多年来我能够在社会上生存下来。以前她常依偎在我身旁、或趴在我腿上听我解释生活中令她疑惑的事情。同时我还会给她讲一些伦理道德,尽量让生活过得更有质量。几年以后,女儿步入了花样的青春期,她不再接受我的意见。其实我看得出她很害怕。不管怎样,我还是给出了我的意见,因为我希望她能平稳地度过那个阶段。我是过来人,为什么她就是听不进我的前车之鉴呢?多年来她都缄口不提此事,但是我仍继续给她建议。直到现在我回想起来才发现我的父亲也是这样。

    Soon, too soon, she left and started her own life. It was as though our separation necessitated that she would once again need, and seek out, my advice. At first this was a good thing, in that I appreciated the fact that she thought my wisdom was worth the time. After awhile I came to the realization that I might not always be right. I started to fear my own answers to her questions.

    恍然间,她离开了我建立了自己的生活。仿佛我们的分开反倒使得有些事情成为必要,她将再次需要寻求我的意见。首先这是件好事情,就此事看来她还是认为我的智慧是经得起时间的考验的。然而我又意识到或许我的建议不总是对的。于是我开始有些害怕回答她的问题了。

    My daughter is not the only person in my life that asks for advice. My wife does it in an odd way. I know she knows the answer to her question but it is almost as though she wants to combine mine with hers. Sometimes when I give her advice she takes it in and basically makes her own decisions. Other times she gives me that odd look that asks, "What planet were you born on?" Either way I do my best.

    在我的生活中女儿并不是唯一向我征询意见的人。我妻子的做法却很怪。她知道问题的答案,但她总希望我的答案能和她的一致。有时我给出建议,她也欣然接受了,但事实上她总是按照自己的方式决定事情。有时她作出十分怪诞的表情看着我似乎在问:“你究竟是哪个星球的人呢?”在两种情况下我都能尽力而为。

    My parents have started to ask for my advice. This was very difficult for me to understand. Most of my life my father and mother were the ones to direct me on how I should handle certain situations. They were the ones who survived their years so that they could direct me toward correct decisions. Now the roles seem to be reversed. I guess I should take it as a compliment because this shifting of roles means that they have finally come to the realization that I am capable of making correct choices. Now, if I could only believe this same realization and finally relax in my new role.

    我的父母也开始向我征求意见,对此我深感不解。因为从来都是父母指导我如何为人处世,他们可以凭借多年的生活阅历帮我作出正确的抉择。而现在我们的角色似乎被互换了。我认为这是一种恭维,因为角色的交换意味着他们终于意识到我已经具备正确的抉择能力了。依现在的情形,我只能相信这种意识并最终会在新的角色中释怀。

    My folk's questions usually surround their preparation for the final stages of their lives. I hate these situations because, if I admit that they are getting old, I am literally resigning myself to the fact that I am not far off. I answer their questions as best as I can, praying that I am advising them to do the right things but how could I possibly know? Unlike giving advice to my daughter, giving advice to my parents involves me guessing what to do without the experience of going through what they are presently going through. I guess they ask me because they trust me, like I have always trusted them.

    朋友们的问题总纠缠在行将之日上。我讨厌这样的问题,因为如果我承认他们老了,那我也只好听天由命等死了。我尽全力去回答他们的问题,然后期望我的话行之有效,但我又怎么能知道呢?不像给女儿和父母建议,因为我没有经历过他们正经历的事情,所以建议中夹杂了我的猜测。我想他们问我是因为信任我,就如同我一直信任他们一样。

    I am a teacher. In fact, I am a high school teacher who works with young adults who are about to embark on careers that include college, the military, or work. Every day I am asked questions concerning how they should organize for their futures, away from a life that centered on their public school. Most people don't realize that graduating from high school is one of the last "rights of passage" our society has. This is true because these young children are leaving a time that had taken up over 75% of their young lives.

    我是一名教师,一名以年轻人为工作对象的高中教师,而这些年轻人即将升上大学、或参军、或走上工作岗位。每天都有人问我在他们离开以校园为中心的生活后该如何计划他们的未来。许多人意识不到高中毕业是社会赋予我们最关键的转折点之一。这是真的,因为年轻的孩子们正在离开一个时代,一个占据他们年轻生命四分之三的时代。

    So, I advice them as to what industries will be important when they get out of college; what military service they should look into, in order to achieve what they think they want to achieve. Sometimes just to tell these young men and women that life is a wonderful thing and that they are fortunate to be in a stage of their lives where they are about to become adults. Every time they leave I pray that I gave them good advice. I know I did my best.

    所以,为了他们能达到他们想达到的目标,我告诉他们,当他们离开校园的时候,什么工业会更有前途,要服什么样的兵役。有时只要告诉少男少女们生活是美好的就行了,身处人生最美好的阶段是很幸运的,他们也将长大成人。每当他们离开后我都祈祷我的话是有益的。我知道我尽力了。

    Sometimes people I don't know ask for my advice. The parents of my students usually ask what they should do to make their child's future bright. Sometimes they ask what they should do because their child doesn't listen or doesn't believe what they are telling them. I assume they ask me because they believe a teacher should know the answers. Either that or they look at my gray hair and beard and believe that my age necessitates my ability to know.

    有时,不认识的人也向我寻求建议。学生的家长通常会问他们该怎样做才能让孩子们有个更光明的前途;该怎么做才能让孩子们听话或相信他们的话。我想他们问我是因为他们相信一个老师应该知道答案,或者因为他们看到我灰白的头发和胡子而相信我的年龄应该有这个能力知道该怎么做。

    The basic problem with Webster's definition of advice is that it doesn't take into account the advisor. Does the advisor understand the problem and have the ability to help with a decision? In the past, did I give my daughter, parents, students, and strangers the correct advice?

    韦氏关于“建议”一词的定义最关键的问题是没有把建议者算进去。建议者懂这个问题吗?有这个能力帮忙做决定吗?以前,我给女儿、父母、家长、学生和陌生人的建议到底对吗?

    I think I'll give my daughter a call and ask her for some advice!

    我想我该给女儿一个电话向她询问一些建议。

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