String of Virtues

Brittany - Red Lion, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 2, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe that everyone’s core holds a string of virtues. What I mean by this is that deep down, though we may deny it, each person has the desire to be a good person in their deepest and inmost parts.

Since I was three weeks old, every year, my family has traveled to Windham, Maine in the summertime. There, my grandparents live in a lake house for half the year. My most memorable moments in Maine are not times like getting up on water skis for the first time at age seven, or biking twenty or thirty miles on what I believe to be the most beautiful coast of America. The most memorable moments are those speaking with my family about the people they’ve met and dealt with in Maine over the years.

James is a twenty-something-year-old who lived with my Uncle Tom and Aunt Cathy in Maine. James is one of the nicest and most fun people to be around. James, on the other hand, has been living in the Juvenile Detention Center in Portland, Maine for the past few years of his life. In and out of foster homes and jail, James looked like a typical bad kid with horrible morals and no future. But James wasn’t a bad boy. James wanted to be good. He made some dumb mistakes, but then again, don’t all humans? James was so good with us kids. He gave us piggy back rides and went sledding with us in the winter. And when he finally got out of that place, when he finally finished his punishment, he followed his dreams. He joined the army, and there he stands today, a smart, accomplished man who knew all along that deep down, he was good. And he had it in his soul. He had the virtues to make a good life for himself. James’ heart held a string of virtue. In him were treasures of happiness, ambition, regret and fixing the past, and most of all, love. Although I was young when I knew James, he taught me a lot about being a good person, even if the world thinks you aren’t.

I’m now sixteen. I’ve always wondered how people can do bad things even when they hold that string of virtues in their soul. How can they do bad things even though they know they’re wrong? Well, I found out the answer to that. I’ve made my mistakes and done things that I shouldn’t have done. Why did I do them? Because I wanted to. And that’s human nature.

I believe that human nature, though part of it includes the act of sinning, also includes being good. Everyone is born with the gift of discernment between right and wrong. I know that people want to do what’s right. And I know that one day, their string of virtues will shine through. This I believe.