Dear Daughter:


As we drove off from Columbia, I wanted to write a letter to you to tell you all that is on my mind.


First, I want to tell you how proud we are. Getting into Columbia is a real testament of what a great well-rounded student you are. Your academic, artistic, and social skills have truly blossomed in the last few years. Whether it is getting the highest grade in Calculus, completing your elegant fashion design, successfully selling your painted running shoes, or becoming one of the top orators in Model United Nations, you have become a talented and accomplished young woman. You should be as proud of yourself as we are.

I will always remember the first moment I held you in my arms. I felt a tingling sensation that directly touched my heart. It was an intoxicating feeling I will always have. It must be that “father-daughter connection” which will bind us for life. I will always remember singing you lullaby while I rocked you to sleep. When I put you down, it was always with both relief (she finally fell asleep!) and regret (wishing I could hold you longer). And I will always remember taking you to the playground, and watching you having so much fun. You were so cute and adorable, and that is why everybody loved you so.

我 会永远记得第一次将你抱在臂弯的那一刻,一种新鲜激动的感觉瞬间触动了我的心,那是一种永远让我陶醉的感觉,就是那种将我们的一生都联结在一起的“父女情 结”。我也常常想起我唱着催眠曲轻摇你入睡,当我把你放下的时候,常常觉得既解脱又惋惜,一方面我想,她终于睡着了!另一方面,我又多么希望自己可以多抱 你一会儿。我还记得带你到运动场,看着你玩得那么开心,你是那样可爱,所有人都非常爱你。

You have been a great kid ever since you were born, always quiet, empathetic, attentive, and well-mannered. You were three when we built our house. I remember you quietly followed us every weekend for more than ten hours a day to get building supplies. You put up with that boring period without a fuss, happily ate hamburgers every meal in the car, sang with Barney until you fell asleep. When you went to Sunday Chinese school, you studied hard even though it was no fun for you. I cannot believe how lucky we are as parents to have a daughter like you.

你不但长得可爱,而且是个特别乖巧的孩子。你从不吵闹、为人着 想,既听话又有礼貌。当你三岁我们建房子的时候,每个周末十多个小时你都静静地跟着我们去运建筑材料,三餐在车上吃着汉堡,唱着儿歌,唱累了就睡觉,一点 都不娇气不抱怨。你去上周日的中文学习班时,尽管一点也不觉得有趣,却依然很努力。我们做父母的能有像你这样的女儿真的感到非常幸运。

You have been an excellent elder sister. Even though you two had your share of fights, the last few years you have become best friends. Your sister loves you so much, and she loves to make you laugh. She looks up to you, and sees you as her role model. As you saw when we departed, she misses you so much. And I know that you miss her just as much. There is nothing like family, and other than your parents, your sister is the one person who you can trust and confide in. She will be the one to take care of you,and the one you must take care of. There is nothing we wish more than that your sisterhood will continue to bond as you grow older, and that you will take care of each other throughout your lives. For the next four years, do have a short video chat with her every few days, and do email her when you have a chance.

你也是个很好的姐姐。虽然你们姐妹以前也会打架,但 是长大后,你们真的成为了好朋友。妹妹很爱你,很喜欢逗你笑,她把你当成她的榜样看待。我们开车离开哥大后,她非常想你,我知道你也很想她。世界上最宝贵 的就是家人。和父母一样,妹妹就是你最可以信任的人。随着年龄的增长,你们姐妹之间的情谊不变,你们互相照应,彼此关心,这就是我最希望见到的事情了。在 你的大学四年,有空时你一定要常常跟妹妹视频聊聊天,写写电子邮件。

College will be the most important years in your life. It is in college that you will truly discover what learning is about. You often question “what good is this course”. I encourage you to be inquisitive, but I also want to tell you :”education is what you have left after all that is taught is forgotten”. What I mean by that is the materials taught isn’t as important as you gaining the ability to learn a new subject, and the ability to analyze a new problem. That is really what learning in college is about – this will be the period where you go from teacher-taught to master-inspired, after which you must become self-learner. So do take each subject seriously, and even if what you learn isn’t critical for your life, the skills of learning will be something you cherish forever.

大学将是你人生最重要的时光,在大学里你会发现学习的真谛。你以前经常会问 到 “这个课程有什么用”,这是个好问题,但是我希望你理解:“教育的真谛就是当你忘记一切所学到的东西之后所剩下的东西。”我的意思是,最重要的不是你学到 的具体的知识,而是你学习新事物和解决新问题的能力。这才是大学学习的真正意义——这将是你从被动学习转向自主学习的阶段,之后你会变成一个很好的自学 者。所以,即便你所学的不是生活里所急需的,也要认真看待大学里的每一门功课,就算学习的技能你会忘记,学习的能力是你将受用终身的。

Do not fall into the trap of dogma. There is no single simple answer to any question. Remember during your high school debate class, I always asked you to take on the side that you don’t believe in? I did that for a reason — things rarely”black and white”, and there are always many ways to look at a problem. You will become a better problem solver if you recognized that. This is called “critical thinking”, and it is the most important thinking skill you need for your life. This also means you need to become tolerant and supportive of others. I will always remember when I went to my Ph.D. advisor and proposed a new thesis topic. He said “I don’t agree with you, but I’ll support you.”After the years, I have learned this isn’t just flexibility, it is encouragement of critical thinking, and an empowering style of leadership, and it has become a part of me. I hope it will become a part of you too.

不要被教条所束缚,任何问题都没有一个唯一的简单的答案。还记得当我帮助你高中的辩论课程时,我总是让你站在你不认可的那一方来辩论吗?我这么做的理由就是希望你 能够理解:看待一个问题不应该非黑即白,而是有很多方法和角度。当你意识到这

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