This I Believe

Ryann - Lexington, North Carolina
Entered on May 1, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I was sitting one day in my first grade classroom, waiting patiently for the teacher to explain the chalk lines she had just made on the green board when it happened. “C-A-T spells cat,” she said. You mean to tell me, that all the time my parents held up pages of pictures for me to see before bed time, they were reading things and not just making up the stories as they went along? Imagine that. My life has never been the same.

I believe in the written word. To be more specific, I believe in the tangible written words that I find in the hundreds of books lining my bookshelf right now and in the thousands of books that will join them over time. I believe each and every one of these books has the power to change the world. Take the Bible for example; a single collection of works from various authors, each writing about the human experience in the terms of their time that somehow became the one book that could simultaneously start wars, and inspire goodwill.

Books changed my life. Not in the romantic way that Bible thumpers tend to claim, but in the more practical way of scholars. From that day in the first grade until now I have devoured every book in my path. I learned everything I needed to know about friendship from Huck Finn. I learned that humans are not the most important creatures in existence from Charles Darwin. I learned morality from Aesop.

These are the values that I apply most in my daily life. The verbal advice my parents gave me as a child has stayed with me of course, but not like the lessons of these books. There is just something about reading the trials of others that makes mundane advice sound more significant; maybe because it is harder to disagree with an idea that has been printed into millions of bound copies and distributed to the masses. It can’t be wrong if it’s in a book.

I believe that books are the future, the past, and the ever-evolving present. In an age when ill-edited “blogs” and Wikipedia entries abound in the endless ether known as the World Wide Web, books are the one thing that I will always trust.