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第22届“21世纪·可口可乐杯”全国英语演讲比赛第十五届“21世纪·新东方杯”全国中小学英语演讲比赛
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19届“21世纪•可口可乐杯”全国英语演讲比赛一等奖陈研演讲视频
日期: 2014-04-24


陈研:南京大学学生,第十九届中国日报社“21世纪可口可乐杯全国英语演讲比赛一等奖获得者。

 

演讲稿:

What We Talk About When We Talk About Happiness

Ningning seemed to be the world’s most unhappy six-year-old, suffering from autism and his parents’ divorce. As his new babysitter, I was determined to cheer him up. The moment I walked in, I began dragging him into games, and encouraging him to “Speak up!” But I couldn’t even get a smile out of him, and I wondered: “Why is nothing working?”

Ningning gave me his answer. Quietly, he retreated into his own world, and began to draw Angry Birds and Green Pigs with the greatest concentration. When the picture was done, I saw a sparkle in his eyes for the very first time.

That moment stayed with me. I thought laughter and play could make Ningning’s gloom go away, but it never occurred to me that happiness according to him could be different. My self-righteous sympathy didn’t do him much good, because I had only tried to impose on him my idea of happiness.

What I learned from Ningning doesn’t stop there. In fact, we are often forced to chase happiness as defined by others. Girls over 25 are pushed into blind dates, for fear of becoming “leftovers.” Boys have to struggle for big apartments to meet the standards of their future mother-in-laws. Many of my classmates do not particularly like their major: their parents chose it for them in the first place.

Now, my story. I have spent many tough hours negotiating with my parents about my future career. Mom pictures me in law school; Dad is all for finance. Both agree that my love of liberal arts is harmless as a hobby, but I would be better off if I lived on something more “practical.”

I can’t say their visions are wrong, but I know I am happiest when I read, think, and write, when I’m carried “somewhere over the rainbow” by my favorite novels; when I act out Juliet’s soliloquy, murmuring “Romeo, O Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”; and when I burn the midnight oil to finish my term paper on Raymond Carver -- who gave us our topic today.

What we talk about when we talk about happiness? It’s not about what kind of happiness, but whose happiness. This is what the liberal arts could teach us: empathy, compassion, and tolerance. Great writers probe into the most inaccessible corners of our heart, to diagnose its pains, and mark its joys. Not only can great art and literature help us come to terms with our inner self, they also show us the complexity of human relationships – love, hatred, friendship, envy, to name but a few. Learning these lessons and sharing them, as I am doing now, is my lifelong pursuit and utmost happiness. In other words, to do what I love where I am needed, like Robert Frost writes:           

“Only where love and need are one

And the work is play for mortal stakes

Is the deed ever really done

For Heaven and the future’s sakes.”



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