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課程來源:TED
     

 

鮑威爾談孩子需要結構

Colin Powell: Kids need structure

 

Photo of three lions hunting on the Serengeti.

講者:鮑威爾(Colin Powell)

2012年10月演講,2013年1月在TEDxMidAtlantic上線

 

翻譯:洪曉慧

編輯:朱學恆

簡繁轉換:洪曉慧

後製:洪曉慧

字幕影片後制:謝旻均

 

影片請按此下載

MAC及手持裝置版本請按此下載

閱讀中文字幕純文字版本

 

關於這場演講

如何協助孩子擁有好的開始?在這場發自內心、充滿個人體驗的演講中,美國前國務卿鮑威爾請求父母、朋友和親戚,在孩子上小學前,即透過社區和一份強烈的責任感,提供孩童協助。(攝於TEDxMidAtlantic)。

 

關於鮑威爾

鮑威爾將軍是第一位擔任美國國務卿的非裔美國人。

 

為什麼要聽他演講

四星上將鮑威爾是美國第一位非裔美籍國務卿,於2001至2005年在小布希(George W. Bush)總統麾下任職。在此之前,鮑威爾也是第一位擔任參謀聯席會議主席的非裔美國人,於1989至1993年擔任這個職務。但年輕時期的鮑威爾-來自布朗克斯的C等生、牙買加移民後裔-如何一路晉升到國防部最高軍職?

 

鮑威爾於紐約市立學院就讀時,加入大學儲備軍官訓練團(ROTC)。他畢業後成為陸軍少尉,兩次赴越南參戰。1989年,鮑威爾於老布希(George H. W. Bush)總統麾下晉升為四星上將,之後被任命為第12屆參謀聯席會議主席。

 

鮑威爾是美國希望聯盟創會主席,這是一個藉由網路合作幫助孩童的組織。

 

鮑威爾的英語網上資料

Home: America's Promise Alliance

Book: It worked for me

 

[TED科技‧娛樂‧設計]

已有中譯字幕的TED影片目錄(繁體)(簡體)。請注意繁簡目錄是不一樣的。

 

鮑威爾談孩子需要結構

 

今天下午,我想做些和預訂計畫稍微不同的事。若想瞭解外交政策,你們可以欣賞-我不知道,Rachel Maddow(美國自由派名嘴)或某人的節目,但-(笑聲)

 

我想談論的是年輕人和結構。年輕人和結構。這是上週三下午,在紐約布魯克林區一所學校,由耶穌會經營的Cristo Rey高中。當時我對這群學生演講,並觀察他們。他們以三個方向環繞著我。你們注意到,他們幾乎都是少數族群。你們注意到,這棟建築十分簡陋。這是一棟老舊的紐約校舍,十分簡樸,他們仍使用舊式黑板等設備。大約300名孩子在這所學校就讀。這所學校已成立四年,首屆學生即將畢業。畢業生共有二十二人,二十二人都會上大學。他們全都來自於-大多來自於只有一位親人的家庭,通常是母親或祖母,僅此而已。他們來這裡接受教育及結構訓練。

 

我拍了這張相片,上星期貼上我的Facebook頁面,有人留言說,「哼,他為何讓他像這樣立正?」接著寫道,「但他看起來不錯。」(笑聲)

 

他看起來確實不錯,因為孩子需要結構。我每次造訪學校,必定會玩個把戲。當我稍微向孩子們說教後,接著會邀請他們發問。當他們舉起手時,我會說,「到台上來。」讓他們在我面前站好。我讓他們像士兵一樣立正,雙臂筆直地貼在身側,抬頭挺胸、睜大雙眼、直視前方,大聲說出問題,讓每個人都能聽見。不可彎腰駝背、不可衣衫不整地穿垮褲等。(笑聲)這位年輕人,名字是-他姓Cruz-他愛極了,在Facebook上大肆宣揚,使這件事廣為流傳。(笑聲)所以人們認為我刁難這個孩子;並非如此,我們樂在其中。至於這樣的事,我已行之多年,在年紀越小的孩子身上效果越有趣。

 

當我面對一群六、七歲的孩子時,必須設法讓他們安靜下來。你們知道,他們總是聒噪不休,因此我先和他們玩個小遊戲,才讓他們立正站好。

 

我說,「聽著,在軍隊裡,當我們希望你集中注意力時,我們有個口令叫做『稍息』,表示每個人都得安靜並留意,專心聆聽。明白嗎?」

 

「嗯哼、嗯哼、嗯哼。」

 

「我們做個練習,大家開始聊天。」我讓他們吵大約十秒鐘,然後大喊,「稍息!」

 

「啊!」(笑聲)

 

「是,將軍。是,將軍。」

 

不妨在你們孩子身上試試,看看是否奏效。(笑聲)我想不太可能。

 

總之,這是我玩的一個遊戲,顯然這來自於我的軍事生涯體驗。因為我成年後大半時光都和年輕人共事,我稱他們為「持槍青年」。我們將他們帶入軍隊,我們所做的第一件事就是將他們放入結構的環境裡,將他們放入行伍中,讓他們全都穿著相同服裝、剃短頭髮,讓他們看起來如出一轍,確保他們能列隊站好。我們教他們如何向右轉、向左轉,讓他們服從指示,瞭解不服從指示的後果。這讓他們明白何謂結構,然後向他們介紹一位他們立刻會痛恨的人-士官長。他們對他恨之入骨。士官長開始對他們大聲呼喊,命令他們做各種難為的事。但隨著時光流逝,最令人驚異的事逐漸發生。一旦發展出那種結構,一旦他們明白某件事的道理,一旦他們明白,「媽媽不在這裡,孩子。我是你們最糟的噩夢,我是你們的父母。明白嗎?事實就是如此。瞭解嗎,孩子?當我問你們問題時,只有三個可能答案:是,長官;不,長官;沒有理由,長官。別告訴我為何你們沒做到某件事。你只能回答:是,長官;不,長官;沒有理由,長官。」

 

「你沒刮鬍子」

 

「但長官-」

 

「不,別告訴我你今早老是刮傷臉皮,我說的是你沒刮鬍子。」

 

「沒有理由,長官。」

 

「好小子,算你識相。」

 

但你會驚訝於,一旦你將他們放入那個結構中後,能讓他們做到的事。十八週後,他們會擁有一身本領。他們會變得成熟。知道嗎?他們開始欽佩士官長,他們對士官長永難忘懷。他們開始尊敬他。因此我們需要將更多這種結構和尊敬灌輸到孩子的生活中。

 

我花了很多時間和年輕人相處,當我詢問人們,「教育過程從何時開始?」大家總是說,「讓我們改善學校;讓我們為教師提供更多方案;讓我們在學校裝設更多電腦,將一切放上網路。」

 

那並非全部答案,僅是部分答案。但真正答案從孩子入學開始,將結構的概念灌輸到孩子心靈中。

 

學習過程從何時開始?從一年級開始嗎?不,不,它開始於孩子第一次在母親懷中,仰視母親時,心想,「喔,這必定是我的母親,她是撫育我的人。喔,是的,當我不舒服時,她會照料我,我將學習她的語言。」那時,他們會將所有那個年紀能學習的其他語言都拒之門外,在最初三個月中,只聽得進她的語言。如果做這件事的人,無論是母親或祖母,無論做這件事的人是誰,那就是教育過程的開始;那就是語言的開始;那就是愛的開始;那就是結構的開始。那就是當你開始對孩子灌輸:「你是特別的,你和世上任何其他孩子都不同,我們會唸書給你聽。」不曾聽過他人唸書的孩子,入學後將處於風險中:一位不知道自己膚色的孩子,或不知道如何看時間,不知道如何繫鞋帶,不知道如何做那些事,不知道如何遵守自小就紮根於我腦海的字眼:注意。注意你的舉止!注意身邊的大人!注意你說的話!這就是正確教養孩子的方式。當我現在觀察自己年幼孫輩的言行,他們令我的孩子苦惱萬分,他們的反應就像當年的我們,知道嗎?你們讓他們深受影響。

 

你們必須做的事,就是讓孩子為接受教育和上學做準備。現在我竭盡所能地宣揚這個訊息:我們需要學前教育,我們需要啟蒙計劃,我們需要胎教。教育過程甚至在孩子誕生之前已經開始。如果不這麼做,將會面臨困境。許多社區和學校都面臨這些困境。當孩子成為一年級新生時,他們雙眼發亮。他們背上小背包,準備上學,然後發現自己不像其他一年級生一樣熟知書中內容-他們已經聽過,看得懂英文字母。到了三年級,那些一開始缺乏那種結構和思維的孩子,開始意識到自己落後他人。他們怎麼做?他們表現脫軌行為。他們表現脫軌行為,然後踏上通往監獄之路,或踏上輟學之路。這是意料之事。如果到了三年級時,你的閱讀能力不及格,到了十八歲,就是入獄的候選者。我們擁有最高的入監率,因為我們沒有讓孩子的生命擁有正確的開始。

 

我的著作中最後一章,標題為「以好的開始作禮物」。以好的開始作禮物。每個孩子的生命都應該擁有好的開始。

 

我有幸擁有這種好的開始。我並非一位傑出學生。我就讀於紐約市一所公立學校,各方面表現都不佳。我從紐約市教育局取得一份從幼稚園到大學的完整成績單,於撰寫第一本著作時申請。我想知道我的記憶是否正確。天哪,確實如此。(笑聲)從頭到尾都是C。我終於在高中時期翻身,以平均78.3分的成績進入紐約市立學院。我本來應該無法錄取。我最初主修工程學,僅持續了六個月。(笑聲)然後轉攻地質學:「撿石頭運動」,簡單極了。然後我發現ROTC(大學儲備軍官訓練團)。我發現某樣我擅長且喜歡的事,我發現了一群志同道合的年輕人,因此我將畢生奉獻於ROTC和軍方。我經常對年輕人說,隨著年齡增長,隨著這種結構在你身上成長茁壯,努力不懈地尋找你所擅長及喜愛的事,當你發現兩者吻合時,老兄,你找到了。這就是我的經歷,這就是我的領悟。

 

此時,紐約市立學院越來越厭倦我的存在。我在那裡讀了四年半,將近五年。我的成績不甚理想,我和校方不時有些摩擦,因此他們說,「但他在ROTC表現優異。看,他在那方面全都拿A,但其他方面都不行。」因此他們說:「好,我們不妨採用他的ROTC成績,併入大學平均成績(Overall GPA),看看情況如何。」他們這麼做了,使我的GPA上升到2.0。(笑聲)沒錯。(笑聲)(掌聲)他們說:「這個成績足以進政府單位。把他送入軍隊,我們再也不會見到他。我們再也不會見到他。」因此他們把我送入軍隊。瞧,多年後,我被認為是紐約市立學院最傑出的校友之一。(笑聲)因此-(笑聲)我經常對年輕人說,並非生命的起點,而是你如何揮灑生命,決定了生命的結果。你有幸生活在這個國家,無論從何處起步,都擁有機會。只要你相信自己,相信這個社會和國家,相信你可以自我提升,隨時自我教育,那就是成功的關鍵。

 

但這始於好的開始這份禮物。如果我們不將這份禮物給予每一位孩子,如果我們不在最早階段進行投資,我們將面臨困境。這就是整體輟學率將近25 %的原因。將近50 %少數族群生活在低收入地區,因為他們得不到好的開始這份禮物。

 

我擁有好的開始這份禮物,不僅是誕生於不錯的家庭,好的家庭,還有會對我這麼說的家人:「聽著,我們在1920和1924年乘著香蕉船來到這個國家,我們每天在成衣廠做牛做馬,我們這麼做不是為了讓你吸毒或惹是生非,更別動輟學的念頭。」如果我膽敢對身為移民的父母說,「你們知道嗎?我厭倦了學校,打算輟學。」他們會說,「我們打算和你斷絕關係,就當沒生過這個孩子。」(笑聲)

 

他們對所有表親,甚至住在南布朗克斯的遠親移民都有所期許,但他們對我們的期許不僅於此。他們將羞恥心彷彿匕首般地刺進我們心坎:「別讓家族蒙羞。」有時我會惹麻煩,我父母會連忙趕回家,我待在自己房間裡,等待後續發展。我獨自坐著,對自己說,「好,拿起皮帶狠狠打我一頓,但-天哪,別再說什麼『讓家族蒙羞』了。」當母親這麼對我說時,總是令我大受打擊。

 

我也擁有一個廣大的網路。孩子需要一個網路,孩子需要成為族群、家庭和社區的一份子。以我的情況來說,就是住在所有廉價公寓中的阿姨。我不知道在座有多少是紐約人,但紐約市有些廉價公寓。這些女人總是望著窗外,倚著枕頭,她們從不離開。(笑聲)老天保佑,我在這些總是有她們存在的街道長大。她們從不上廁所、從不煮飯。(笑聲)她們什麼也不幹,但她們所做的就是讓我們守法守分。她們不斷地讓我們守法守分。她們不在乎你是否成為醫生、律師或將軍,她們不曾期望家族中出個將軍,只要你接受教育,然後找一份工作。

 

「別跟我們談什麼自我實現的理想,只要找份工作,搬出家門,我們沒時間浪費在那種事上。之後你就可以支援我們,這就是你們這些孩子的責任。」

 

因此,這是相當重要的一點:我們應該將這種文化導回我們的家庭,所有家庭。這十分重要。在座各位都是成功人士,我相信你們都擁有美好的家庭和子孫,這並不足夠。你們必須伸出援手,幫助像Cruz先生這樣的孩子。他們可以有所成就,如果你們給予他們結構,如果你們伸出援手,如果你們提供指導,如果你們資助男女童軍,如果你們和學校系統攜手合作,確保它成為最佳的學校系統。不僅是你們孩子的學校,還有那些位於哈林區的學校,不僅是位於西區市中心的蒙特梭利學校。我們每個人都該致力這方面的貢獻。我們投資的不僅是孩子,也是我們的未來。

 

再過一個世代,我們將成為以少數族群為主的國家。現在我們稱為少數族群的人將會變成多數人口,我們必須確保他們為成為多數人口做好準備,我們必須確保他們為成為這個偉大國家的領袖做好準備。一個與眾不同的國家,一個每天都帶給我驚喜的國家,一個充滿紛爭的國家。我們總是爭論不休,這就是這個系統的運作方式。這是一個充滿對立的國家,但它是國中之國。我們和每個國家息息相關,每個國家也和我們息息相關。我們是移民國家,這就是為什麼我們需要健全的移民政策。這是十分荒謬的事-沒有健全的移民政策歡迎那些想來這裡、成為這個偉大國家一份子的人。或者我們可以給予他們教育機會,幫助他們的人民脫離貧困。其中一個讓我津津樂道的精采故事是,我喜歡返回紐約故居,在晴朗的日子沿著公園大道散步,欣賞周遭一切,觀察來自世界各地、與我擦肩而過的人。但我必定會做的事,就是在其中一個轉角停下,在移民手推車攤販買熱狗。非得吃個髒兮兮的熱狗不可。(笑聲)無論我身處何方或正在做什麼,都非得做這件事不可。即使擔任國務卿時也不例外。我會走出Waldorf Astoria酒店套房。(笑聲)沿著街道前進,然後在第55街轉角尋找移民手推車攤販。當年我身邊跟著五個保鑣,三輛紐約市警車沿途護送,確保我沿著公園大道前進時不會遭到攻擊。(笑聲)我會向小販買個熱狗,他會開始製作,然後環顧四周,看見那些保鑣和警車:「我有綠卡!我有綠卡!」(笑聲)「沒事、沒事。」

 

但現在我獨自一人,獨自一人,沒有保鑣,沒有警車,什麼也沒有,但還是得吃熱狗。

 

我上星期才買過。那是某個星期二傍晚,就在哥倫布圓環附近。這是司空見慣的場景。我上前買熱狗,那個小販開始製作,即將完成時,他說,「我認得你,我在電視上見過你。你是…嗯…你是鮑威爾將軍。」

 

「是、是。」

 

「喔…」

 

我把錢遞給他。

 

「不,將軍。你不能付我錢,我已得到報償。美國已經給了我報償。我永遠不會忘記自己來自何方,但我現在是美國人,長官,謝謝。」

 

我接受他的好意,繼續沿著街道前進,腦海裡浮現一個念頭:天哪!這就是九十年前以同樣方式歡迎我父母的國家。

 

因此,這依然是當年那個泱泱大國,但來自世界各地的年輕人為這個國家貢獻心力。我們的義務是,成為對這個美好國家有所貢獻的公民,確保沒有任何孩子被遺忘。

 

十分感謝。

 

(掌聲)

 

以下為系統擷取之英文原文

 About the talk

How can you help kids get a good start? In this heartfelt and personal talk, Colin Powell, the former U.S. Secretary of State, asks parents, friends and relatives to support children from before they even get to primary school, through community and a ...

About this speaker

General Colin Powell was the first African-American to serve as U.S. Secretary of State. Full bio »

About transcript

What I want to do this afternoon is something a little different than what's scheduled.Foreign policy, you can figure that out by watching, I don't know, Rachel Maddow or somebody, but — (Laughter) —

I want to talk about young people and structure, young people and structure. This was last Wednesday afternoon at a school in Brooklyn, New York, at Cristo Rey High School, run by the Jesuits. And I was talking to this group of students, and take a look at them. They were around me in three directions. You'll noticed that almost all of them are minority. You'll notice that the building is rather austere. It's an old New York school building, nothing fancy.They still have old blackboards and whatnot. And there are about 300 kids in this school,and the school's been going now for four years, and they're about to graduate their first class. Twenty-two people are graduating, and all 22 are going to college. They all come from homes where there is, for the most part, just one person in the home, usually the mother or the grandmother, and that's it, and they come here for their education and for their structure.

Now I had this picture taken, and it was put up on my Facebook page last week, and somebody wrote in, "Huh, why does he have him standing at attention like that?" And then they said, "But he looks good." (Laughter)

He does look good, because kids need structure, and the trick I play in all of my school appearances is that when I get through with my little homily to the kids, I then invite them to ask questions, and when they raise their hands, I say, "Come up," and I make them come up and stand in front of me. I make them stand at attention like a soldier. Put your arms straight down at your side, look up, open your eyes, stare straight ahead, and speak out your question loudly so everybody can hear. No slouching, no pants hanging down, none of that stuff. (Laughter) And this young man, his name is -- his last name Cruz -- he loved it. That's all over his Facebook page and it's gone viral. (Laughter) So people think I'm being unkind to this kid. No, we're having a little fun. And the thing about it, I've done this for years, the younger they are, the more fun it is.

When I get six- and seven-year-olds in a group, I have to figure out how to keep them quiet.You know that they'll always start yakking. And so I play a little game with them before I make them stand at attention.

I say, "Now listen. In the army, when we want you to pay attention, we have a command. It's called 'at ease.' It means everybody be quiet and pay attention. Listen up. Do you understand?"

"Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh." "Let's practice. Everybody start chatting." And I let them go for about 10 seconds, then I go, "At ease!"

"Huh!" (Laughter)

"Yes, General. Yes, General."

Try it with your kids. See if it works. (Laughter) I don't think so.

But anyway, it's a game I play, and it comes obviously from my military experience.Because for the majority of my adult life, I worked with young kids, teenagers with guns, I call them. And we would bring them into the army, and the first thing we would do is to put them in an environment of structure, put them in ranks, make them all wear the same clothes, cut all their hair off so they look alike, make sure that they are standing in ranks.We teach them how to go right face, left face, so they can obey instructions and know the consequences of not obeying instructions. It gives them structure. And then we introduce them to somebody who they come to hate immediately, the drill sergeant. And they hate him. And the drill sergeant starts screaming at them, and telling them to do all kinds of awful things. But then the most amazing thing happens over time. Once that structure is developed, once they understand the reason for something, once they understand, "Mama ain't here, son. I'm your worst nightmare. I'm your daddy and your mommy. And that's just the way it is. You got that, son? Yeah, and then when I ask you a question, there are only three possible answers: yes, sir; no, sir; and no excuse, sir. Don't start telling me why you didn't do something. It's yes, sir; no, sir; no excuse, sir."

"You didn't shave." "But sir —"

"No, don't tell me how often you scraped your face this morning. I'm telling you you didn't shave."

"No excuse, sir." "Attaboy, you're learning fast."

But you'd be amazed at what you can do with them once you put them in that structure. In 18 weeks, they have a skill. They are mature. And you know what, they come to admire the drill sergeant and they never forget the drill sergeant. They come to respect him. And so we need more of this kind of structure and respect in the lives of our children.

I spend a lot of time with youth groups, and I say to people, "When does the education process begin?" We're always talking about, "Let's fix the schools. Let's do more for our teachers. Let's put more computers in our schools. Let's get it all online."

That isn't the whole answer. It's part of the answer. But the real answer begins with bringing a child to the school with structure in that child's heart and soul to begin with.

When does the learning process begin? Does it begin in first grade? No, no, it begins the first time a child in a mother's arms looks up at the mother and says, "Oh, this must be my mother. She's the one who feeds me. Oh yeah, when I don't feel so good down there, she takes care of me. It's her language I will learn." And at that moment they shut out all the other languages that they could be learning at that age, but by three months, that's her. And if the person doing it, whether it's the mother or grandmother, whoever's doing it, that is when the education process begins. That's when language begins. That's when love begins. That's when structure begins. That's when you start to imprint on the child that "you are special, you are different from every other child in the world. And we're going to read to you."A child who has not been read to is in danger when that child gets to school. A child who doesn't know his or her colors or doesn't know how to tell time, doesn't know how to tie shoes, doesn't know how to do those things, and doesn't know how to do something thatgoes by a word that was drilled into me as a kid: mind. Mind your manners! Mind your adults! Mind what you're saying! This is the way children are raised properly. And I watched my own young grandchildren now come along and they're, much to the distress of my children, they are acting just like we did. You know? You imprint them.

And that's what you have to do to prepare children for education and for school. And I'm working at all the energy I have to sort of communicate this message that we need preschool, we need Head Start, we need prenatal care. The education process begins even before the child is born, and if you don't do that, you're going to have difficulty. And we are having difficulties in so many of our communities and so many of our schools where kids are coming to first grade and their eyes are blazing, they've got their little knapsack on and they're ready to go, and then they realize they're not like the other first graders who know books, have been read to, can do their alphabet. And by the third grade, the kids who didn't have that structure and minding in the beginning start to realize they're behind, and what do they do? They act it out. They act it out, and they're on their way to jail or they're on their way to being dropouts. It's predictable. If you're not at the right reading level at third grade,you are a candidate for jail at age 18, and we have the highest incarceration rate because we're not getting our kids the proper start in life.

The last chapter in my book is called "The Gift of a Good Start." The gift of a good start. Every child ought to have a good start in life.

I was privileged to have that kind of good start. I was not a great student. I was a public school kid in New York City, and I didn't do well at all. I have my entire New York City Board of Education transcript from kindergarten through college. I wanted it when I was writing my first book. I wanted to see if my memory was correct, and, my God, it was. (Laughter)Straight C everywhere. And I finally bounced through high school, got into the City College of New York with a 78.3 average, which I shouldn't have been allowed in with, and then I started out in engineering, and that only lasted six months. (Laughter) And then I went into geology, "rocks for jocks." This is easy. And then I found ROTC. I found something that I did well and something that I loved doing, and I found a group of youngsters like me who felt the same way. And so my whole life then was dedicated to ROTC and the military. And I say to young kids everywhere, as you're growing up and as this structure is being developed inside of you, always be looking for that which you do well and that which you love doing, and when you find those two things together, man, you got it. That's what's going on. And that's what I found.

Now the authorities at CCNY were getting tired of me being there. I'd been there four and a half going on five years, and my grades were not doing particularly well, and I was in occasional difficulties with the administration. And so they said, "But he does so well in ROTC. Look, he gets straight A's in that but not in anything else." And so they said, "Look, let's take his ROTC grades and roll them into his overall GPA and see what happens." And they did, and it brought me up to 2.0. (Laughter) Yep. (Laughter) (Applause) They said, "It's good enough for government work. Give him to the army. We'll never see him again. We'll never see him again." So they shipped me off to the army, and lo and behold, many years later, I'm considered one of the greatest sons the City College of New York has ever had. (Laughter) So, I tell young people everywhere, it ain't where you start in life, it's what you do with life that determines where you end up in life, and you are blessed to be living in a country that, no matter where you start, you have opportunities so long as you believe in yourself, you believe in the society and the country, and you believe that you can self-improve and educate yourself as you go along. And that's the key to success.

But it begins with the gift of a good start. If we don't give that gift to each and every one of our kids, if we don't invest at the earliest age, we're going to be running into difficulties. It's why we have a dropout rate of roughly 25 percent overall and almost 50 percent of our minority population living in low-income areas, because they're not getting the gift of a good start.

My gift of a good start was not only being in a nice family, a good family, but having a family that said to me, "Now listen, we came to this country in banana boats in 1920 and 1924.We worked like dogs down in the garment industry every single day. We're not doing it so that you can stick something up your nose or get in trouble. And don't even think about dropping out." If I had ever gone home and told those immigrant people that, "You know, I'm tired of school and I'm dropping out," they'd said, "We're dropping you out. We'll get another kid." (Laughter)

They had expectations for all of the cousins and the extended family of immigrants that lived in the South Bronx, but they had more than just expectations for us. They stuck into our hearts like a dagger a sense of shame: "Don't you shame this family." Sometimes I would get in trouble, and my parents were coming home, and I was in my room waiting for what's going to happen, and I would sit there saying to myself, "Okay, look, take the belt and hit me, but, God, don't give me that 'shame the family' bit again." It devastated me when my mother did that to me.

And I also had this extended network. Children need a network. Children need to be part of a tribe, a family, a community. In my case it was aunts who lived in all of these tenement buildings. I don't know how many of you are New Yorkers, but there were these tenement buildings, and these women were always hanging out one of the windows, leaning on a pillow. They never left. (Laughter) I, so help me God, I grew up walking those streets, and they were always there. They never went to the bathroom. They never cooked. (Laughter)They never did anything. But what they did was keep us in play. They kept us in play. And they didn't care whether you became a doctor or a lawyer or a general, and they never expected any generals in the family, as long as you got an education and then you got a job.

"Don't give us any of that self-actualization stuff. You get a job and get out of the house. We don't have time to waste for that. And then you can support us. That's the role of you guys."

And so, it's so essential that we kind of put this culture back into our families, all families.And it is so important that all of you here today who are successful people, and I'm sure have wonderful families and children and grandchildren, it's not enough. You've got to reach out and back and find kids like Mr. Cruz who can make it if you give them the structure, if you reach back and help, if you mentor, if you invest in boys and girls clubs, if you work with your school system, make sure it's the best school system, and not just your kid's school, but the school uptown in Harlem, not just downtown Montessori on the West Side.All of us have to have a commitment to do that. And we're not just investing in the kids.We're investing in our future.

We're going to be a minority-majority country in one more generation. Those that we call minorities now are going to be the majority. And we have to make sure that they are ready to be the majority. We have to make sure they're ready to be the leaders of this great country of ours, a country that is like no other, a country that amazes me every single day,a country that's fractious. We're always arguing with each other. That's how the system's supposed to work. It's a country of such contrasts, but it's a nation of nations. We touch every nation. Every nation touches us. We are a nation of immigrants. That's why we need sound immigration policy. It's ridiculous not to have a sound immigration policy to welcome those who want to come here and be part of this great nation, or we can send back home with an education to help their people rise up out of poverty. One of the great stories I love to tell is about my love of going to my hometown of New York and walking up Park Avenue on a beautiful day and admiring everything and seeing all the people go by from all over the world. But what I always have to do is stop at one of the corners and get a hot dog from the immigrant pushcart peddler. Gotta have a dirty water dog. (Laughter) And no matter where I am or what I'm doing, I've got to do that. I even did it when I was Secretary of State. I'd come out of my suite at the Waldorf Astoria — (Laughter) — be walking up the street, and I would hit around 55th Street looking for the immigrant pushcart peddler. In those days, I had five bodyguards around me and three New York City police cars would roll alongside to make sure nobody whacked me while I was going up Park Avenue. (Laughter) And I would order the hot dog from the guy, and he'd start to fix it, and then he'd look around at the bodyguards and the police cars -- "I've got a green card! I've got a green card!" (Laughter)"It's okay, it's okay."

But now I'm alone. I'm alone. I've got no bodyguards, I've got no police cars. I've got nothing.But I gotta have my hot dog.

I did it just last week. It was on a Tuesday evening down by Columbus Circle. And the scene repeats itself so often. I'll go up and ask for my hot dog, and the guy will fix it, and as he's finishing, he'll say, "I know you. I see you on television.

You're, well, you're General Powell."

"Yes, yes." "Oh ... "

I hand him the money.

"No, General. You can't pay me. I've been paid. America has paid me. I never forget where I came from. But now I'm an American. Sir, thank you."

I accept the generosity, continue up the street, and it washes over me, my God, it's the same country that greeted my parents this way 90 years ago.

So we are still that magnificent country, but we are fueled by young people coming up from every land in the world, and it is our obligation as contributing citizens to this wonderful country of ours to make sure that no child gets left behind.

Thank you very much.

(Applause)


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