This I Believe

Jessica - Boynton Beach, Florida
Entered on April 26, 2006

I believe that we speak in music; words strung together on a staff resting and repeating until they are whole and beautiful. It has been said that silence is golden but I think that it is just the opposite. For me a conversation is my opportunity to learn, and when I can’t hear the music of conversation I have trouble understanding anything at all.

About a month ago I overheard my Macro Economics professor say,

“Kids nowadays are an absolute disgrace. If I did anything wrong when I was a kid, I was beaten, and you better believe I didn’t do it again. That’s the way it should be.”

I spoke up from my desk that inspiration shouldn’t be born in fear, that nothing should. Kids should learn for the sake of learning, for the love of learning.

“That’s a beautiful philosophy,” he said. “But it’ll never work. People are animals. If there’s no incentive, there are no results.”

I never wanted to believe that. I want to believe that people are more than just a set of numbers and averages, but sometimes it’s hard to see past them. Students in the school system sometimes work as predictably as the systems itself. They look at life in terms of acheivement and standards, and don’t appreciate the time it takes to reach the standards, or the time that falls between them.

I find silence in text books. I feel that people have been removed from the context of their lives and I become lost in the details too small for me to see. Words in text books become the close-up blotches of an impressionist painting; the colors overlap and mix together until I can’t understand what it means. A conversation gives me an opportunity to see things from my own perspective, where the smear of paint takes shape and becomes something real and whole.

In a conversation everything is real. Nothing is lost in the folds of back packs to be forgotten, it has only been built upon. It gives me the freedom to link information that isn’t normally associated with each other.

After talking to my professor, he told me to change the system he had lost hope in by learning things, not for a grade, but for myself.

I believe learning is beautiful and spontaneous, and I am hopeful that I will come to understand that belief throughout my life.