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美国20世纪最伟大的100篇演讲Barbara Bush - Wellesley Commencement

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AmericanRhetoric.com


Barbara Bush

Commencement Address
at Wellesley
College


Delivered
1 June
1990

AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED:
Text
version below
transcribed
directly
from
audio

Thank you
very, very much, President Keohane. Mrs. Gorbachev, Trustees, faculty, parents,
and I should say, Julia Porter, class president, and certainly my new best
friend, Christine
Bicknell. and, of course, the Class of 1990. I am really thrilled to be here today, and very
excited, as I know all of you must be, that Mrs. Gorbachev could join
us.

These are exciting times. They're exciting in
Washington, and I
have really looked forward to
coming to
Wellesley. I
thought it was going to be fun. I
never dreamt
it would be this much
fun. So,
thank you for that.

More than ten
years ago, when
I was invited here to
talk about our experiences in the
People's Republic of China,
I was struck by both the natural beauty of your campus and the
spirit of this place.


Wellesley, you see, is not just a place but an
idea an
experiment in excellence in which
diversity is not just tolerated, but
is embraced.
The essence of this spirit was captured in a
moving speech about
tolerance given
last year by a student body president of one of your
sister colleges.
She related the story by Robert
Fulghum about a young pastor, finding himself
in charge of some very energetic children, hits upon the game called "Giants, Wizards, and
Dwarfs." "You have to decide now," the pastor instructed the children, "which
you are a
giant, a wizard, or a dwarf?" At
that, a small girl tugging at
his pants leg, asked, "But where
do the mermaids stand?" And the pastor tells her there are no
mermaids. And she says, "Oh
yes there are. I am a mermaid."


Transcription by
Michael
E. Eidenmuller. Property
of AmericanRhetoric.com. . Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.
Page
1



AmericanRhetoric.com


Now this little girl
knew what
she was, and she
was not about
to give up on either her
identity, or the game. She intended to
take her place wherever mermaids fit into
the scheme
of things. "Where do the mermaids stand? All of those who are different, those who do
not fit
the boxes and the pigeonholes?" "Answer that question," wrote Fulghum, "And you
can build a
school, a nation, or a whole world." As that very wise young woman
said, "Diversity, like
anything worth
having, requires effort effort
to learn about and respect
difference, to be
compassionate with one another, to cherish our own identity, and to accept unconditionally
the same in others.

You should all be very proud that
this is the Wellesley spirit. Now
I know your first choice
today was Alice Walker guess
how
I
know!
known
for The Color Purple. Instead
you got
me known
for the color of my hair. Alice Walker's book has a special resonance here. At
Wellesley, each
class is known by a special
color. For four years the Class of '90 has worn
the
color purple. Today you meet on
Severance Green
to say goodbye to all of that, to begin a
new and a very personal journey, to search for
your own true colors.

In
the world that awaits you, beyond the shores of Lake Waban, no one can say what
your
true colors will be. But this I do know: You
have a first class education
from a first class
school. And so
you
need not, probably cannot, live a "paintbynumbers"
life. Decisions are
not
irrevocable. Choices do come back. And as you set off from Wellesley, I hope that many of
you will consider making three very special choices.

The first is to believe in something larger than yourself, to get
involved in some of the big
ideas of our time. I chose literacy because I
honestly believe that if more people could read,
write, and comprehend, we would be that much
closer to
solving so
many of the problems
that plague our nation and our society.

And early on I made another choice, which
I
hope you'll make as well. Whether you are
talking about
education, career, or service, you're talking about
life and
life really must
have joy. It's supposed to be fun.

One of the reasons I
made
the most
important decision of my life, to
marry George Bush, is
because he made
me laugh. It's true, sometimes we've laughed through our tears, but that
shared laughter has been one of our strongest bonds. Find the joy in
life, because as Ferris
Bueller said on
his day off, "Life moves pretty fast. and ya don't stop and look around once in
a while,
ya gonna miss it."


(I'm not
going to
tell George ya clapped
more for Ferris than ya clapped for George.)

The third choice that
must
not be missed is to
cherish your human connections: your
relationships with family and friends. For several years, you've had
impressed upon you
the
importance to your career of dedication and hard work. And, of course, that's true.
But as
important as your obligations as a doctor, a lawyer, a business leader will be, you are a
human being first. And those human connections with
spouses, with children, with
friends
are
the most
important investments you will
ever make.


Transcription by
Michael
E. Eidenmuller. Property
of AmericanRhetoric.com. . Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.
Page
2



AmericanRhetoric.com


At
the end of your life, you will
never regret not
having passed one more test, winning one
more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You
will regret
time not
spent with a husband, a
child, a friend, or a parent.

We are in a transitional period right
now We
are in a transitional period right
now,
fascinating and exhilarating times, learning to adjust to
changes and the choices we,
men and
women, are facing. As an example,
I remember what a friend said, on
hearing her husband
complain to
his buddies that he had to
babysit.
Quickly setting him straight, my friend told
her husband that when it's your own
kids, it's
not called babysitting.


Now maybe we should adjust
faster. maybe we should adjust slower. But whatever the era
twenty whatever
the era, whatever the times, one thing will
never change: fathers and
mothers, if you have children, they must come first. You must
read
to your children, and you
must
hug your children, and you must
love your children. Your success as a family, our
success as a society, depends not on what
happens in
the
White House, but on what happens
inside your house.

For over fifty years, it was said that
the winner
of Wellesley's annual
hoop race would be the
first
to get
married. Now they say, the winner will be the first to become a C.E.O. Both of
those stereotypes show too
little tolerance for those who want to
know where the mermaids
stand. So
I want to offer a new legend: the winner of the hoop race will be the first to
realize
her dream not
society's dreams her
own personal dream.

And who
knows? Somewhere out
in
this audience may even be someone who will one day
follow
in my footsteps, and preside over the White House as the President's spouse and
I
wish him well.

Well, the controversy ends here. But our conversation
is only beginning. And a worthwhile
conversation it has been. So as you leave Wellesley today, take with you deep thanks for the
courtesy and the honor you have shared with Mrs. Gorbachev and with
me.

Thank you. God bless you. And may your future
be worthy of your dreams.


Transcription by
Michael
E. Eidenmuller. Property
of AmericanRhetoric.com. . Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.
Page
3


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