瑜伽市長及縣議員在敬老節的談話

敬老節和懷少節是宣公上人在1992年創辦的兩大節日,今年已是第二十屆。這兩個節日除了教育聖城中小學的學生和住眾以實際行動來敬老和懷少之外,對於聖城和瑜伽市社區間的互動與瞭解,產生了極大的作用。今年瑜伽市長羅丁(Mari Rodin)和曼都仙諾縣的縣議員布朗(Carre Brown)應邀參加,並在節目進行中致詞,特將其講稿登出,讓讀者能更瞭解敬老節這二十年來在瑜伽市所發揮的影響力。舊金山灣區的世界日報亦報導了敬老節的盛況,一併登出。

瑜伽市長羅丁(Mari Rodin)

尊敬的老人家、學生和大眾:感謝各位今天上午邀請我來萬佛城,在敬老節講幾句話。為什麼要由萬佛城來提醒我和外面的人,要從日常生活中抽空來認識、感恩老人家帶給我們的智慧、為我們付出的一切,以及他們所作的犧牲?我們並非在思想上不感恩老人家,我們也是很感恩的,只是我們美國人並未特意安排時間來表達我們對老人家的感恩。我怯於承認說我不相信我們的文化對老人看重的程度跟對年輕人一樣。我母親在罹患老年癡呆症之前曾說,她從中年起,就感覺別人對她視若無睹。我聽了覺得很難過,因為我知道她是多麼聰明有智慧。她原來是大學心理學教授,對許多事情很有自己的看法。

我在瑜伽市住了二十年,從點點滴滴小地方中,認識萬佛城。也開始理解:偏重年輕人是我們的文化。但如同我母親所觀察到的,美國人不重視老人,對老人視而不見,彷彿他們是空氣,好像老人就沒有貢獻,並非本該如此。其他的文化,例如中華文化,卻大不相同——中華文化恭敬孝順老者。就像今天我們在這裡慶祝敬老節,同時提醒我們:老人家給予我們的一切美好事務,只要我們能夠駐足審視。

儘管我對美國文化不重視老人感到失望,但我對美國文化的一大特點卻很感快慰。那就是美國是座「熔爐」,美國歡迎來自其他不同文化的人,從中得以學習其他文化的優點。就今天而言,正是撥出這一天,作為尊敬老人的節日。

Dear honorable elders, students, and members of the public,

Thank you for inviting me here this morning to speak on Honoring Elders Day.  Why does it take The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas to remind me and other people from outside this community to take time out of our regular routine to acknowledge and appreciate the wisdom, the sacrifices, and the gifts that our elders provide us?  It isn’t so much that we don’t appreciate our elders in our thoughts as we are reminded of them from time to time. We do. It’s just that we Americans don’t SET ASIDE time, deliberately, to do this. I am afraid to admit that I don’t believe that our culture actually values old age as much as it values youth.  My mother used to say, before she got Alzheimers disease, that once she reached middle age, she felt invisible. That made me sad because I knew how smart and wise she was, a professor of psychology at a university who always had strong ideas about things.

Since I have come to know The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, in the small way that I have in the 20 years that I’ve lived in Ukiah, I have come to see that this bias toward youth is cultural—that it isn’t natural that Americans see right past senior citizens, as if they don’t have anything to offer, as if they are transparent, like my mother observed. Other cultures, such as the Chinese culture, are different that way. In Chinese culture, people are deferential to their elders! And, moreover, here we have a special day set aside to remind us of the beauty and the gift that our elders offer us, if we just stop to look.

Although I am disappointed that our American culture tends to devalue old age, I am happy about one facet ofAmerica. And that is thatAmericais a “melting pot”. This country has always welcomed people from many different cultures. As a result, I am able to learn and benefit from the wisdom offered by their customs and observances, in this case to be present with you here today to take time to honor our elders.

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曼都仙諾縣縣議員布朗(Carre Brown)

每次來到萬佛聖城,我都感到備受歡迎。今天我們在這裡慶祝”敬老節”. 當我得知每一位住在這裡的長者都應邀來參加這從1992年開始慶祝的敬老節,我心裡覺得很溫馨。我們很高興看到,育良小學和培德中學的學生,為所有來賓表演音樂舞蹈等節目,還贈送老人家手工製作的可愛禮物。我也要特別感謝學校老師的辛勞,成就這個特殊的節日,也成為大家學習的經驗。還要感謝廚房的工作人員,準備了這麼健康又美味的素菜。謝謝您們!

敬老是我們每天都該做的事,今年的慶祝活動給我們機會能夠發願一整年都來敬老,而且不只敬老,還要照顧老人家。我的公公活到100歲,在今年一月過世。照顧我公公的經驗,讓我們全家都學到很多。我們也繼續照顧我90歲的老母親,她現在年老體衰。我母親跟我公公生前一樣,都不願離家另住,我公公是在家裡壽終正寢,我們也希望同樣照顧母親頤養天年。

我問過我的孩子,他們是否做了筆記,要如何照顧老人,因為孩子的爸和我也都垂垂老矣。他們都說是的,他們做了筆記,而且從照顧祖父和外婆的經驗中,學到很多。我的孫子輩也是如此。我們的長輩養育我們,並將他們的智慧跟我們分享,今天正是為他們慶祝的特別節日,謝謝大家!

I feel so very welcomed whenever I come to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Today we all join together to celebrate Honoring Elders Day. It is heartwarming to me to know that all elders within the community are invited to this holiday first established in 1992. We all take delight in the presentations by students from the Instilling Goodness Elementary andDevelopingVirtueSecondary Schoolsas they perform dances and music for their guests along with lovely handmade gifts to the elders. I extend a special thank you to their teachers who work hard to make this occasion very special and a learning experience for all.  To the Dining Hall kitchen staff who prepare all the healthy and tasty vegetarian dishes, thank you.

Honoring our Elders is something we should do every day. This yearly celebration gives us the opportunity to faithfully pledge this commitment year-round, not only honoring but also caring of our elderly population.  My family was enriched by the experience of caring for my father-in-law as he became very frail and until he passed at 100 years old last January. We continue to provide care for my 90 year old mother who has been slowly declining with age. Neither one wanted to be placed outside their home, if at all possible. We were able to grant this to my father-in-law and it is our desire to do so for my mother.

I asked my children if they were taking notes on how to care for elders since their father and I are entering our twilight years. They have responded yes and agreed they have learned much from this special experience of providing care for their grandparents. My grandchildren have too.

Our elders raise us, educate us, and share their wisdom with us. Today is their special day. Thank you.

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舊金山灣區世界日報之報導

育良、培德敬老節 學生為老人添飯

記者陳運璞達摩鎮報導

北灣瑜伽市(Ukiah)達摩鎮(Talmage)育良小學、培德中學於19日舉行「敬老節」,邀請附近社區60歲以上的老人,由學生們表演節目,並親自為老人添飯布菜,還贈送小禮物,在秋涼時節向老人家表達敬意。

由於瑜伽市與達摩鎮的居民大都為西方人,因此應邀前來的老人家也以西方人為主,今年參加這項敬老節最年長的是102歲的伏格爾(Lilian Vogel)。瑜伽市長羅丁(Mari Rodin)致詞指出,她自己的母親原來是大學心理學教授,很感嘆到了中年以後,人家看她就像看空氣一樣,視而不見。羅丁認為美國文化太重視青少年,卻忽略老年人。不過,美國文化又是大熔爐,因此可以學習吸收其他文化的優點,例如中華文化敬老的美德。

曼都仙諾縣的縣議員布朗(Carre Brown)則說,她自己的公公是在與他們同住多年後,活到100歲壽終正寢。現在她90歲的老母親也跟他們同住,他們全家一起照顧這位老母親,因此布朗的兒女與孫子都學會如何照顧老人。布朗認為,對待老人不僅要敬老,還要悉心照顧。

育良小學、培德中學的學生,自1992年起,每年11月舉辦敬老節,每年4月舉辦懷少節,發揚創辦人宣化上人在美國提倡敬老懷少的精神。每個班級都在老師輔導下,推出歌唱、朗誦、或戲劇表演節目以娛嘉賓。校內社團如國樂社、民族舞蹈社、舞龍舞獅社、太鼓社等也各自推出節目。這兩個節日,恰好讓學生們充分展現才藝,並訓練他們組織溝通的能力。

 

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