This I Believe

Josephine - Henderson, Nevada
Entered on August 26, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: question

I am 15-years-old and am confident that I will have many more years to figure out what beliefs I live my life by and that right now its okay to be unsure what thought is important enough for me to think daily. Yet, at 15, there is one belief that crosses my mind more often than any other, and it is this: I believe that I don’t know everything. This was true for me at 5 and will be true for me at 50. I know that this simple statement can connect me with every other human on this planet. I do not know everything, which to me only means there is more to learn.

I cannot remember exactly when this realization hit me, it has simply been part of me my entire life. Since I was 3, my brother has been my hero. He saved me when my parents fought and then divorced; he never failed to include me in his games; and he almost always knew the answer, but more importantly, he told me when he didn’t. “I don’t know Jo,” was not, and is not, an uncommon response to one of my inquiries. It was from him I learned to ask when I had a question and speak up when I had something to say. And it is he who often reminds me that I don’t know everything, and in fact, I know very little.

Like my brother, the people I admire most are those that aren’t afraid to show when they don’t know something. Being unsure of an answer is often viewed as a sign of weakness, but I’ve learned to see it as strength. By accepting that I don’t know all the answers, and that I can’t even understand all the questions, I can look for the answers openly, and include others in my search. If I was afraid to ask questions, they would forever remain unanswered. Instead, I ask and search, happy to live not knowing everything, and always working to learn more.

I believe that accepting I don’t know everything is like accepting I am mortal and accepting that I am human. Accepting I will die isn’t a death sentence, and accepting there will be unknowns isn’t an excuse to be ignorant. Just as I will live until I die, I will have questions until they’re answered. And, it will only be when every question I have is answered that I will change my belief. So, until then, I am happy not knowing everything and this, I believe.