This I Believe

Conrad - Maumee, Ohio
Entered on July 28, 2006
Age Group: 65+
Themes: golden rule


I believe the whole of which I am a part is not separate from each of us. I experience that each of us is more connected than disconnected. I believe that when I am kind to others, I’m kind to myself. My mother and a few teachers were kind to me by helping me develop a sense of wonder, openness, awareness, and self-direction. They also helped me believe with Confucius that I ought not worry when others do not recognize my merits, but to worry when I don’t recognize theirs.

I believe I can help develop in myself and others a sense of wonder, openness, awareness, and self-direction, which in turn, helps me notice with William Penn that, “I’m passing by this way but once, and that any good, therefore, that I may do, or any kindness that I may show to any human being, I should do it now. I should not defer, nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

The wonder, openness, and awareness helps me notice the secular version of the Francis of Assisi idea that I am better off by being an instrument of peace, and that where there is a hatred, I am better off by sowing love, and where there is injury, pardon, and where there is doubt, faith, and when there is despair, hope, and where there is darkness, light, and where there is sadness, joy. I believe I should not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. The wonder, openness, and self-direction has led me to believe that it is in giving that I receive, it is in pardoning that I am pardoned, and it is in momentarily dying that I am reborn and transformed immediately into someone that transcends what I was before. That transcendence, I believe, is a kind of enlightenment which may be shared with others including members of cultures with beliefs other than my own.

I believe this sense of wonder, openness, and self-direction has led me, as a white male, to notice that I have privileges as a result of being a white male. I also notice that it helps me immediately when I share and/or attempt to promote the sharing of these privileges with people of color and women.

I believe that when I talk about white male privilege to other white men, I am doing something important.