“This I Believe” ESSAY
Excerpt of Original Invitation from 'This I Believe':
This invites you to make a very great contribution: nothing less than a statement of your personal beliefs, of the values which rule your thought and action. Your essay should be about three minutes in length when read aloud, written in a style as you yourself speak, and total no more than 500 words.
We know this is a tough job. What we want is so intimate that no one can write it for you. You must write it yourself, in the language most natural to you. We ask you to write in your own words…. You may even find that it takes a request like this for you to reveal some of your own beliefs to yourself. If you set them down they may become of untold meaning to others.
We would like you to tell not only what you believe, but how you reached your beliefs, and if they have grown, what made them grow. This necessarily must be highly personal. That is what we anticipate and want.
It may help you in formulating your credo if we tell you also what we do not want. We do not want a sermon, religious or lay; we do not want editorializing or sectarianism or 'finger-pointing.' We do not even want your views on the American way of life, or democracy or free enterprise. These are important but for another occasion. We want to know what you live by. And we want it in terms of 'I,' not the editorial 'We.'
Although this program is designed to express beliefs, it is not a religious program and is not concerned with any religious form whatever. Most of our guests express belief in a Supreme Being, and set forth the importance to them of that belief. However, that is your decision, since it is your belief which we solicit.
But we do ask you to confine yourself to affirmatives: This means refraining from saying what you do not believe. Your beliefs may well have grown in clarity to you by a process of elimination and rejection, but for our part, we must avoid negative statements lest we become a medium for the criticism of beliefs, which is the very opposite of our purpose.
We are sure the statement we ask from you can have wide and lasting influence. Never has the need for personal philosophies of this kind been so urgent. Your belief, simply and sincerely spoken, is sure to stimulate and help those who hear it. We are confident it will enrich them. May we have your contribution?
Adapted from the invitation sent to essayists featured in the original 'This I Believe' series. Excerpted from 'This I Believe 2,' copyright © 1954 by Help, Inc.
Directions: Since this course focuses on learning about cultural beliefs, values, and behaviors of people in various places and times, I would like for you to consider your deepest beliefs and how they shape your values and behaviors.
On one hand, this essay is informal in that it is intended to be read aloud, which means that you are not required to use complete sentences.
On the other hand, this essay is formal in that you should not use slang, profanity, or "text-speak" and should capitalize "I" and the first letter of every sentence.
your finished essay to
the following places according to scheduled deadlines (see calendar):
printed copy handed in to me at beginning of class, electronic copy to turnitin.com via Backboard, and to discussion board (when submitting to Blackboard discussion area do not include your name; include only the title and essay).
Since this essay asks you to expose/explore/express your deepest belief, your essay on the discussion board will remain anonymous so that no one will know who said what.
This credo should sum up your beliefs in a powerful, compelling yet succinct, straight-forward
manner. Your credo serves as your thesis statement for your introduction.
I believe in stories. Stories that live and breathe. Stories that are fruitful and multiply. That create stories within stories. Bring into being stories of my own. I want stories that provoke a powerful response be it tears, laughter, or thought. I desire a story to have a gravity of its own. If it’s not worth telling more than once, it’s not worth telling. It should continue to pull me back again and again . . .
* * *
I believe that music is a force that stands and beckons the souls of humans to step out of their secret places. I have seen the power of a guitar’s voice as it draws out the souls of strangers in a crowd from under their superficiality and holds them spellbound as one. I have felt an overwhelming sense of unity fall over a huge crowd of people when the insightful artist reveals his sorrow, his frustration, or his overwhelming joy with a melody.
I believe in closed eyes and dim lighting, in tapping feet, concert halls, and heads carried up and down by the rolling swells of a melody. . .
* * *
I believe in the wisdom of the ages. My happiest place was sitting on my grandmother’s counter, while she was cooking, trying to memorize her cornbread recipe. I would sit on her powder blue carpet and run my fingers over the hand stitches of her many old quilts, while the colored glass hummingbird feeders on her porch made patches of purple and green move slowly around her living room. Her wisdom slipped by so many, but I drank it in like sunlight. . .