给儿子的毕业贺信 A Congratulatory Letter to Son
May 11, 2014
Do you know why you were named “聪Cong”? It means smart and
intelligent. It also sounds similar to another Chinese character 冲
(dash to). Your last name 徐 Xu means “slow in a gentle way”.
So we hope you can take your time, enjoy your life, but also
dash toward your life goals. You did it! And you made it!
We are so proud of you today. You have completed your
undergraduate study and will explore the world further more in two
months. You are always the best. It is because you have been
working hard and have tried your best. We saw how hard you worked
on your projects. We observed how passionate you are for your
research projects and even teaching. You were born a scientist!
You were our only child and focus when we were in China. You lived
in the dorm room with us for 6 years on the campus of Wuhan
University. Although the living condi
tion was not that good, you had fun time with other neighbor kids
and grew up happy and healthy. Mom missed you so much when I was in
the U.S studying abroad alone and leaving you and Dad behind. You
were only 6 years old then. Do you know? Mom cried many times alone
in the college dorm room in Cedar Falls, Iowa. We could not see or
talk to each other quite often at that time and could only mail a
letter to each other once a week. It was so expensive to even make
a phone call 15 years ago. You told Dad to prepare documents
tomorrow on the plane back to Wuhan after you sent Mom off in
Shanghai because you wanted to come to the States to look for Mom.
There you came, after four months and only one semester first-grade
study in China. You only knew some English letters then. That did
not prevent you from making friends. You attended the ESL class for
one year and turned out to be the one to deliver the class speech
at Brimhall Elementary School commencement. The main reason for
your popularity was because the influence of Chinese culture you
brought with you to the school. You know it. Your favorite Chinese
snack – 干脆面dry and crunchy noodle.
You turned the American
Ramen noodle into干脆面。 A lot of kids followed your taste.
You had to move with Parents from China to Iowa, from Iowa to
Minnesota, and then from Minnesota to Indiana.
Yes, it has
been all in the Mid-West.
At least you had crossed the ocean
and became a little study abroad student – the first generation of
immigrants like your parents. When we moved to the Twin Cities, you
fell in love with the place and made more friends in the school and
in CTC (married student residency community). Mom had to move alone
again after 6 years when you were 14 because she found a job at
Saint Mary’s College in Indiana. You attended high school at
Roseville High School that year. You helped Dad raise 1.5 year-old
Baby Brother Carl for almost one year. When Dad had night class,
you fed Carl and even changed his diaper. Our neighbors were amazed
by your maturity, patience, and gentleness. That was the hardest
year for the family, but you could meet the challenge and did not
complain at all.
You do not have much demand on materials or living standards. When
Mom told you that your cousin living in China had a lot of
expensive shoes, you replied casually, “I have only one pair of
shoes, which is only $10 worth. I am fine with it. I do not need
more shoes.” You only ask for new shoes when the old shoes were
worn out. You know your parents were poor students at that time and
you always try to help us out in your own way.
We remember that you were a little scared when you attended the
Open House of Penn High School. You just moved here and did not
have any friend yet. You had to sacrifice all your friendship in
Minnesota for the family. Three years later, you graduated as the
Valedictorian of the 2010 class. You delivered the graduation
speech/valedictorian address again and even sang a song “Don’t Stop
Believing” to encourage your peers, which became the legacy of the
school. We were amazed by your singing because we never heard you
singing at home. You did an excellent job!
We are glad that you got the chance to study abroad in Hong Kong
for a year. It was the year when you had a good reflection on your
identity. It was also the year when we first went back to China
together as a family after 14 years.
You helped make it
You claimed in your winning study abroad essay that “The American
Melting Pot can never be true without your 干脆面.”
it does not matter whether you are Chinese or American, as you
understand. It matters whether you have a global heart and whether
you are open-minded. We hope you will continue your intercultural
learning journey on your way to Europe for the graduate program.
You should be proud of your diverse cultural background and your
rich life experiences. We believe you can make more social changes
no matter where you go. Yes, you can.
Thanks for watching the movie “Frozen” with the family today to
celebrate Mother’s Day. Love can melt a frozen heart! As the song
“The past is in the past
Let it go, let it go
And I'll rise like the break of dawn”
Congratulations on your academic achievements and being your
program valedictorian again. You received one major in
Environmental Science and one minor in Chinese. You also received
the departmental award – Outstanding Environmental Scientist Award
and have been selected and invited to membership in Phi Beta Kappa
- the oldest academic honor society in the United States due to
your excellent academic achievements. We cannot wait to hear your
valedictorian address to your classmates. We believe you will do a
good job again. Go, Charles! 聪聪，加油！
Dad and Mom
P.S. Enclosed are some of your childhood photos. Sorry that we did
not talk too much about the past with you after you came to the
U.S. Here you are. What valuable moments they were. You had been a
cute boy and now a handsome young man! We and your little brother
Carl will miss you when you leave us for your own world, but we
will always love you no matter where you are!