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[11-16]双语故事 如果是你,你愿意放弃什么?

   It all began with a stop at a red light.
Kevin Salwen, a writer and entrepreneur in Atlanta, was driving his 14-year-old daughter, Hannah, back from a sleepover in 2006. While waiting at a traffic light, they saw a black Mercedes coupe on one side and a homeless man begging for food on the other.

故事开始于一个十字路口,路口亮着红灯。
凯文·萨文是美国亚特兰大市的一个作家兼企业家。2006年的一天,他载着自己14岁的女儿汉娜从别的地方回家。在等待信号灯变绿的时候,他们看到马路上停着一辆黑色奔驰车,而在奔驰车不远处的马路另一侧,一个无家可归的流浪汉在乞讨食物。



  “Dad, if that man had a less nice car, that man there could have a meal,” Hannah protested. The light changed and they drove on, but Hannah was too young to be reasonable. She pestered her parents about inequity, insisting that she wanted to do something.

“老爸,如果那个车主买一辆不那么昂贵的车,那个流浪汉就可以吃一顿饱餐了!”汉娜不满的说道。红灯变绿了,他们继续上路,但小汉娜还是不懂事的缠着父母,她觉得这件事很不公平,并坚持要为那个可怜的人做些什么。

“What do you want to do?” her mom responded. “Sell our house?”
“那你想做什么呢?”她妈妈打趣地问她。“你想要把我们的房子卖了吗?”




Warning! Never suggest a grand gesture to an idealistic teenager. Hannah seized upon the idea of selling the luxurious family home and donating half the proceeds to charity, while using the other half to buy a more modest replacement home.

(提醒:不要给一个理想主义的孩子这么大方的提议!汉娜就咬定了这个主意,她执意要把家里豪华的别墅卖掉,把卖房所得一半的钱捐给慈善基金会,然后还有一半的钱则用来买一栋相对一般的房子作新家。)




Eventually, that’s what the family did. The project — crazy, impetuous and utterly inspiring — is chronicled in a book by father and daughter scheduled to be published next month: “The Power of Half.” It’s a book that, frankly, I’d be nervous about leaving around where my own teenage kids might find it. An impressionable child reads this, and the next thing you know your whole family is out on the street.

最后,家里拗不过她的软磨硬泡,真的就把房子给卖了。在下个月即将出版的新书《一半的力量》中,父亲和女儿作为作者,将这个疯狂、冲动但却相当发人深省的计划公之于众。老实说,这本书我可不敢随便放在我自家孩子触手可及的地方。孩子都很容易受影响和启发,如果他们读了,说不定哪天你们全家就不得不搬到大街上去住了。

回复 1# kobe


   At a time of enormous needs in Haiti and elsewhere, when so many Americans are trying to help Haitians by sending everything from text messages to shoes, the Salwens offer an example of a family that came together to make a difference — for themselves as much as the people they were trying to help. In a column a week ago, I described neurological evidence from brain scans that altruism lights up parts of the brain normally associated with more primal gratifications such as food and sex. The Salwens’ experience confirms the selfish pleasures of selflessness.

在这个海地等世界其他地方亟需帮助的时候,许许多多的美国人都在以不同的方式帮助他们,有的发去慰问短信,有的则捐衣捐物。但萨文一家却给我们树立了一个别样的榜样,他们齐心协力,为他们自己,也为那些需要帮助的人们真正做了富有意义的事。在一周前我的另一篇专栏文章中,我说过,大脑扫描的结果显示:无私的行为会使大脑部分感受到如食物和性生活般最为原始的快感。萨文家的经历正是无私带来自私快感的一大例证。




Mr. Salwen and his wife, Joan, had always assumed that their kids would be better off in a bigger house. But after they downsized, there was much less space to retreat to, so the family members spent more time around each other. A smaller house unexpectedly turned out to be a more family-friendly house.

萨文先生和他的妻子乔安先前总是认为在大房子里,孩子们会过的更加惬意。但是在搬进小房子后,将大家隔离开来的空间少得多了,这样一来,家庭成员就可以有更多的时间呆在一起。小房子出乎意料地变成了一个更加适宜家庭生活的家。




“We essentially traded stuff for togetherness and connectedness,” Mr. Salwen told me, adding, “I can’t figure out why everybody wouldn’t want that deal.”

“其实我们是把物质和金钱转换成更加紧密无间的联系了,”萨文先生在与我谈话中这样说道,“我觉得如果有这种选择,每个人都会像我一样这么做的。”




One reason for that togetherness was the complex process of deciding how to spend the money. The Salwens researched causes and charities, finally settling on the Hunger Project, a New York City-based international development organization that has a good record of tackling global poverty.

要决定如何合理利用另一半的钱也是一个复杂的过程,萨文一家花时间研究了一些机构和慈善团体,最终决定将钱捐给“战胜饥饿项目”。这是一个设在纽约的国际发展组织,因其努力解决贫困问题而享誉全球。

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回复 2# kobe


   The Salwens pledged $800,000 to sponsor health, microfinancing, food and other programs for about 40 villages in Ghana. They traveled to Ghana with a Hunger Project executive, John Coonrod, who is an inspiration in his own right. Over the years, he and his wife donated so much back from their modest aid-worker salaries that they were among the top Hunger Project donors in New York.

萨文一家共给该机构捐献了80万美元,共资助了加纳40个村庄,涉及项目包括健康、小额融资、食物等等。他们专程前往加纳,与他们同行的还有“战胜饥饿项目”执行官约翰·库罗,他凭借自身的能力,吸引了许多人加入了慈善行业。多年来,作为救援人员,他和夫人用尽了自己绵薄的工资捐助他人,在整个纽约的“战胜饥饿项目”名录上无疑最为耀眼。




The Salwens’ initiative hasn’t gone entirely smoothly. Hannah promptly won over her parents, but her younger brother, Joe, was (reassuringly) a red-blooded American boy to whom it wasn’t intuitively obvious that life would improve by moving into a smaller house and giving money to poor people. Outvoted and outmaneuvered, Joe gamely went along.

萨文一家的行动其实也不是一帆风顺的。汉娜说服了父母,但她的弟弟乔伊是一个血气方刚的美国男孩,他始终不相信自己搬进小房子、把大把钞票送给穷人会改善生活。最后通过家庭民主投票,以及父母姐姐的一番劝说,乔伊也只好硬着头皮与家人站在了同一战线上。





The Salwens also are troubled that some people are reacting negatively to their project, seeing them as sanctimonious showoffs. Or that people are protesting giving to Ghana when there are so many needy Americans.

萨文一家当然也有别的、来自外界的烦恼。有些人对于他们的计划不以为然,认为他们只是在伪善地作秀。还有些人则抗议他们将财产资助给加纳,而不是同样有许多穷人的美国本土。

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   Still, they have inspired some converts. The people who sold the Salwens their new home were so impressed that they committed $100,000 to the project. And one of Hannah’s closest friends, Blaise, pledged half of her baby-sitting savings to an environmental charity.

尽管反对声音并不少,但他们还是启示了很多人。将小房子卖给萨文一家的房东被他们的行为所感染,于是也慷慨的捐了10万美元给这个项目。而汉娜最好的朋友布莱斯则将她打工当保姆所赚的钱一半捐给了一个环境保护机构。



In writing the book, the Salwens say, the aim wasn’t actually to get people to sell their houses. They realize that few people are quite that nutty. Rather, the aim was to encourage people to step off the treadmill of accumulation, to define themselves by what they give as well as by what they possess.

萨文父女说,写这本书的目的不是真的要我们都去卖房子,他们知道很少有人像他们那么疯狂。书的出版旨在劝诫人们不要永无止尽地积累财富,鼓励人们以一种新的方式给自己定位,不光要看你有什么,还要看你给别人什么。




“No one expects anyone to sell a house,” said Hannah, now a high school junior who hopes to become a nurse. “That’s kind of a ridiculous thing to do. For us, the house was just something we could live without. It was too big for us. Everyone has too much of something, whether it’s time, talent or treasure. Everyone does have their own half, you just have to find it.”

汉娜现在已经步入高中并梦想着当一名护士,她说:“没人会求别人去卖房子,这种事情太过荒唐。对我们来说,大房子只是我们生活中可以放弃的一样东西,我们没有必要拥有那么多空间。我觉得每个人都会有些东西富余,不管是时间、天赋还是财富。每个人都可以找到自己可以放弃的那一半,只要耐心寻找,就一定能找到。”

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