“Chinese Mother” Speech at Third Annual “Chinese Bridge” University Student Chinese Speech Contest in New England Area

By Marcus Larsen-Strecker, Tufts University, Chinese teacher: Wentao Li
(Marcus Larsen-Strecker is a contestant of the Third Annual “Chinese Bridge” University Student Chinese Speech Contest in New England Area. He gave this speech in Chinese on March 23 at UMass Boston.)

Respected teachers, ladies and gentleman! Thank you very much for finding the time to come and listen to my speech. Today I would like to share a story with the audience. I hope that through my story, the audience will be able to better understand the significant impact studying Chinese has had on my life.
In the picture above, Marcus wrote “Long live friendship between China and USA” in Chinese Calligraphy.

This story takes place the evening before I left China. When I was just about to close my suitcase, my host mother came in to my room holding an assortment of gifts. I immediately knew the reason she wanted to give me each gift; each item had its own story. Every precious gift made me think of all I had experienced, learned, and done while I was in China, sitting before me each gift represented a vivid story. However, my suitcase was already packed and there was nowhere for me to fit all of the precious items. Mother saw that I did not know what to do, and she began to help me repack my suitcase. In the end, with my host mother’s help, we were able to fit every souvenir she had bought me inside my suitcase.

Although I repeatedly told her she did not need to worry about it, she kindly persisted until we found a way to fit every item in my suitcase.

Through this story, we can observe an important aspect of traditional Chinese culture. When I said, “don’t worry about it,” an American mother would likely not have persevered, but a Chinese mother, like my host mother, would most definitely have made the effort to find a way to assist the child’s needs.

If I had never studied Chinese language and culture, I would not have had the opportunity to experience and learn from moments of cross-cultural exchange like this. This kind of experience continues to motivate me to further improve my Chinese language skills. I hope that by strengthening my Chinese language skills and cultural knowledge, in the future I will be able to interact with Chinese people in as culturally appropriate a manner as possible, thereby facilitating the growth of our friendships.