Taking a Stand坚定你的立场

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Taking a Stand坚定你的立场
2009-03-25 11:46:16    作者: 刘克(译)     来源: 新东方 Taking a Stand

The summer before fifth grade, my world was turned upside down when my family moved from the country town where I was born and raised to a town near the beach. When school began, I found it difficult to be accepted by the kids in my class who seemed a little more sophisticated, and who had been in the same class together since first grade.

I also found this Catholic school different from the public school I had attended. At my old school, it was acceptable to express yourself to the teacher. Here, it was considered outrageous to even suggest a change be made in the way things were done.

My mom taught me that if I wanted something in life, I had to speak up or figure out a way to make it happen. No one was going to do it for me. It was up to me to control my destiny.

I quickly learned that my classmates were totally intimidated by the strict Irish nuns who ran the school. My schoolmates were so afraid of the nuns’ wrath that they rarely spoke up for themselves or suggested a change.

Not only were the nuns intimidating, they also had some strange habits. The previous year, my classmates had been taught by a nun named Sister Rose. This year, she came to our class to teach music several times a week.

One day during music, I announced to Sister Rose that the key of the song we were learning was too high for our voices. Every kid in the class turned toward me with wide eyes and looks of total disbelief. I had spoken my opinion to a teacher ― one of the Irish nuns!

That was the day I gained acceptance with the class. Whenever they wanted something changed, they’d beg me to stick up for them. I was willing to take the punishment for the possibility of making a situation better and of course to avoid any special attention from Rose. But I also knew that I was being used by my classmates who just couldn’t find their voices and stick up for themselves.

Things pretty much continued like this through sixth and seventh grades. Although we changed teachers, we stayed in the same class together and I remained the voice of the class.

At last, eighth grade rolled around and one early fall morning our new teacher, Mrs. Haggard― not a nun, but strict nevertheless― announced that we would be holding elections for class representatives. I was elected Vice President.

That same day, while responding to a fire drill, the new president and I were excitedly discussing our victory when, suddenly, Mrs. Haggard appeared before us with her hands on her hips. The words that came out of her mouth left me surprised and confused. “You’re impeached!” she shouted at the two of us. My first reaction was to burst out laughing because I had no idea what the word “impeached” meant. When she explained that we were out of office for talking during a fire drill, I was devastated.

Our class held elections again at the beginning of the second semester. This time, I was elected president, which I took as a personal victory. I was more determined than ever to represent the rights of my oppressed classmates.

My big opportunity came in late spring. One day, the kids from the other eighth grade class were arriving at school in “free dress,” wearing their coolest new outfits, while our class arrived in our usual uniforms: the girls in their pleated wool skirts and the boys in their salt and pepper pants. “How in the world did this happen?” we all wanted to know. One of the eighth graders from the other class explained that their teacher got permission from our principal, Sister Anna, as a special treat for her students.
We were so upset that we made a pact to go in and let our teacher know that we felt totally ripped off. We agreed that when she inevitably gave us what had become known to us as her famous line, “If you don’t like it, you can leave,” we’d finally do it. We’d walk out together.

Once in the classroom, I raised my hand and stood up to speak to our teacher. About eight others rose to show their support. I explained how betrayed we felt as the seniors of the school to find the other eighth graders in free dress while we had to spend the day in our dorky uniforms. We wanted to know why she hadn’t spoken on our behalf and made sure that we weren’t left out of this privilege.

As expected, instead of showing sympathy for our humiliation, she fed us her famous line, “If you don’t like it, you can leave.” One by one, each of my classmates shrank slowly back into their seats. Within seconds, I was the only one left standing.

I began walking out of the classroom, and Mrs. Haggard commanded that I continue on to the principal’s office. Sister Anna, surprised to see me in her office so soon after school had begun, asked me to explain why I was there. I told her that as class president, I had an obligation to my classmates to represent them. I was given the option to leave if I didn’t like the way things were, so I did. I believed that it would have been a lie for me to sit back down at that point.

She walked me back to class and asked Mrs. Haggard to tell her version of the situation. Mrs. Haggard’s side seemed to be different from what the class had witnessed. Then something incredible happened. Some of my classmates began shouting protests from their desks in response to Mrs. Haggard’s comments. “That’s not true,” they countered. “She never said that,” they protested.

It was too much of a stretch for them to stand up and walk out with me that day, but I knew something had clicked inside of them. At least they finally spoke up.

Perhaps they felt that they owed me. Or they realized that we’d soon be at different high schools and I wouldn’t be there to stick up for them anymore. I’d rather believe that when they spoke up that day, they had finally chosen to take control of their own destinies.

I can still hear their voices.

坚定你的立场

上五年级之前的那个暑假里,我家从生我养我的乡下小镇搬到了一座海滨小城,从此我的生活发生了翻天覆地的变化。等到开学的时候,我发觉自己很难被班里的其他同学所接纳。他们看起来有些过于世故。而且他们从一年级起就同在一个班级。

与此同时,我还发现天主教会学校有别于我以前就读的公立学校。在原来的学校里,学生可以直言不讳地向老师表达自己的想法。而在这里,哪怕是建议按照事情原本的规律做一下改变也被认为是忍无可忍的粗鲁行为。

妈妈曾经教导我:如果在生活中我想得到某种东西,就必须大胆直言或者千方百计找出办法使梦想成真。没有人能代替我做这一切。只有我才能掌控自己的命运。

很快我便了解到全班同学都早已被管理这所学校的那些严厉的爱尔兰修女们镇住了。全校学生都对这些修女的坏脾气怕得要死。以至于几乎没人为自己辩解或提议做出某种改变。

这些修女不仅常常吓唬学生而且她们自身还有一些怪异的习惯。去年,一个被叫做罗丝姐姐的修女一直都担任我那些同学的老师。而在今年,她每周只是来我所在的班级上几次音乐课而已。

有一天在音乐课上,我大声告诉罗丝老师,对我们的嗓音来说,正在学唱的这首歌调门实在太高。班里的每个孩子都转过头,瞪大了眼睛盯着我,脸上满是难以置信的表情。我竟敢对老师——一名爱尔兰修女,说出了自己心中的想法。

正是在那一天,全班同学真正接纳了我。从此,每每他们想让某些事情有所改变,他们就来恳求我为他们仗义执言。为了使大家的处境变得好些,我心甘情愿接受惩罚。同时,还要避免引起罗丝老师的过多关注。但是我也心知肚明,全班同学是在利用我,因为他们从未大胆直言,为自己的利益而据理力争。

诸多此类事情持续不断发生,历经六年级和七年级。尽管我们更换了不同的老师,但是我们仍然在同一个班级,我始终是大家的代言人。

终于,我们开始了八年级的学习生活。一个初秋的早晨,我们的新老师哈嘉德夫人——虽然她不是修女,但仍然很严厉——宣布我们准备选举班级干部。于是我被推选为副班长。

就在同一天,我们参加了消防训练。正当我和新班长激动不已地讨论我们的胜利的时候,突然,哈嘉德老师两手叉腰出现在我俩面前。她脱口而出的话令我既惊愕又困惑。“你们被弹劾了。”她对我俩吼叫着。我的第一反应是开怀大笑起来因为我根本不知道她所谓的“弹劾”是什么意思。当她向我们解释我俩因为在消防训练中闲聊而被撤职时,我极为震惊。

第二学期伊始,我们班再次选举。这次,我被推选为班长。我把这看作是个人的胜利。我比以往更加坚定,决心代表受压迫的全班同学的利益。

在晚春时节,我的机会来了。一天,我发现八年级某个班级的学生身着便装来上学。他们穿着最酷的新套装。而我们却照例一如既往地穿着校服,女生一律穿着格子呢裙,男生一律穿着黑白相间的格子裤。怎么会有这种事情呢?我们都想探个究竟。来自那个班级的一名学生告诉我们他们的老师获得安娜校长的许可,可以给他们这种特殊待遇。

我们十分气愤,大家约好一起去找老师, 想告诉她我们完全被愚弄了。我们全都同意如果她仍不可避免地说出那句早被我们熟知的“名言”——“如果你不喜欢,你就可以走。”那么我们就会真的那样做。一起走出教室。

最终在教室里,我举手示意并站起来对老师说出了我们的想法。大约有七、八个同学也同时站起来表示支持。我解释道:我们看到其他八年级学生可以身着便装而我们却不得不穿着老式的校服度过一整天。作为本校高年级学生,我们有一种被出卖的感觉。我们想知道,老师为什么没有为我们仗义执言,从而确保我们也能拥有这一特权。

果然不出所料,她没有对我们受到的不公平待遇表现出一丝同情,而是甩出那句著名的老话:“如果你不喜欢,你就可以走。”于是所有同学一个接一个慢慢地缩回到座位上。很快,只剩下我一个人还站在那里。

我迈步走出教室。哈嘉德老师命令我一直走,去找安娜校长。刚刚开始上课,就看到我来到校长办公室,安娜校长感到很惊讶,她问我为什么来找她。我告诉她作为班长,我有责任代表全班同学表达心声。我被赋予权利,如果我不喜欢目前事情运作的方式,我可以选择离开。在那种情况下,我相信如果我重新回到座位坐下,对我来说,那完全是一种撒谎。

安娜校长陪我一起走回教室。她让哈嘉德老师讲述一下她对这件事情的说法。然而哈嘉德老师的说法与先前同学们看到的情况大相径庭。随即,令人难以置信的事情发生了。一些同学在他们的座位上大声抗议来回应哈嘉德老师的言论。“那不是真的。”他们反驳道,“她根本不是那么说的。”

我深知,那天随我一起站起来并走出教室对其他同学来说实在是强人所难了。但是他们的内心还是受到了某种触动。至少他们最终大胆地说出了自己的想法。
 
也许他们感觉亏欠了我。或者他们意识到我们不久就要升入不同的中学。而我将不能在那里继续为他们仗义执言了。我更愿意相信那一天当他们大声说出心里话的时候,他们终于选择由自己掌控自己的命运。

时至今日,我依然可以听到他们的喊声。(编辑:胡慧) 

(原文作者:Irene Dunlap)