This I Believe

Ben - Norman, Oklahoma
Entered on January 30, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family
  • 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.

Coming into this assignment I must admit I was a bit overanxious. It’s not often that one of the major grades of any college course is a paper about personal beliefs and how they evolved from within. What’s that? It’s written in first person too? Cake. Not just a slice of it – the whole thing. This is the mindset I was in as my Mac booted up on the desk in front of me. After forty minuets of staring at a blank Word document, I realized how difficult baking an entire cake must be.

Nineteen years is a sizable chunk of the human timeline, and being forced to pick just one belief to represent the hundreds that accumulate from worldly interaction seems more cruel than easy. So, after waking up my lazy computer, I didn’t start writing this paper. I had a better idea. One by one I chronologically listed the ten beliefs that have shaped who I am today (starting with the oldest). Unfortunately, do to constraints placed on this essay I don’t have space in my word count to reveal nine tenths of the list, but I can share with you how I arrived at my number one. Coincidently, it was the first thing on my list. This makes sense chronologically, as it the only thing I ventured to place faith in for a long time – family.

Pretty simple belief, right? Well, I guess in a complex sort of way. The best way I can describe it is in metaphorical form (hold on tight) – it’s like mailing a letter. You know it has been written and sent, and most of the time you know when it arrives, but only God and a collection of postal workers know what happened in between. Well, I know I was born, and I know I believe in my mom, my dad, and (even) my sister, but all the big leaps in my faithful evolution seem to have found themselves lost in my days of puberty. And I can’t find any postal workers to question.

When I was four I sat on a fire ant hill that nestled cozily up against our front yard walkway – my mom’s prize for getting me out was numerous bites, a trip to the hospital, and weeks of rubbing creams on an angry little boy. When I was eight I stabbed my sister with a mechanical pencil (for reasons I can’t remember, though I’m sure they’re righteous), breaking the lead off in her arm – she didn’t squeal because she knew I was going to a hockey game with dad that night. Sense then, whenever she wants something she just turns her arm over for me to see the little speck of lead living under her skin. Why do I believe in family? Because I’d like to believe it was first on my list for a real reason – or simply because they believe in me…in a complex sort of way.