This I Believe

Lauren - Buda, Texas
Entered on September 8, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Life is full of trials and errors. Things go wrong. Murphy’s Law comes into play. To conquer this, I believe in pencils.

Yes, you heard me. I believe in those yellow cloaked, eraser adorned, and run-of-the-mill pencils. They let one go off on a tangent and have the ability to come back and forget it all. People are imperfect, in case you haven’t noticed, they make mistakes. Why should we have to set those mistakes into stone, rather than go back and fix them, or at least start over and try again. Pencils allow us to second-guess ourselves and not have to hide our mistakes in a pool of ink. They give us a safety net.

I remember the awe and amazement I had when I got my first pencil, or at least the first one I could remember. I had the power to write a muse, or whatever entered my mind, and when I grew bored of the topic, I could erase everything and start anew. I was akin to a literary goddess. I had the power to allow a petite flower to grace my page, and that delicate flower could be eradicated to make room for a dog, or anything else my heart desired. If I struggled with addition or multiplication and made an error, that very error could be erased from both my mind and paper and replaced with the correct answer.

Mistakes are a part of life, and though one can learn from them, it might not be best to hold them up for all to see.

Pencils, though rid us of our mistakes, also let us learn from them. The eraser, as some find out too quickly, does not last forever. Pencils are like the spell-check of today, except the correction does not magically appear with the effortless click of a mouse. With pencils, learning happens, though it may occur by trial and error, its there. Those who are wise have learned from the teacher of time. Maybe they have run out of eraser long ago, or have been around long enough to get by without using it at all. In the end, everyone is going to have to discover to how to live without it.

Mistakes are a part of nature, and some of those mistakes can lead to beautiful things. It is up to you to decide. So pass it on, and put down those pens and sharpies, and really let yourself learn.