I adhere to two basic beliefs.
First, I believe that being raised in a caring and loving environment by my parents and extended family is one of the most important advantages of my lifetime. Although we were rather poor, moved frequently from one town to another and lived in rental houses until I left home, I always felt safe. In mostly small West Texas communities, I learned from responsible parents and dedicated teachers the skills necessary to succeed. I wish every child could have at least the care I had, especially during the first years of their lives.
My second belief is about, … well, … beliefs. I believe that I should carefully and rationally challenge all beliefs I hold, to see if they contain enough wisdom and truth to be useful to me and beneficial to others in this world. This did not come easily. I may never have come to hold this belief, had I not had the good fortune to escape the home of my childhood, go to college, and eventually join communities of scholars in the academy. It is here, living for years among persons who constantly challenge their own beliefs and those of others, that I have grown intellectually and spiritually. I wish every person could have the benefit of studying ideas that come from great minds, past and present. I wish all persons could feel free to change their beliefs if, upon evaluation in the light of reason and new knowledge, they find that there are better ways of thinking and acting.
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