Joel - Andover, Massachusetts
Entered on May 27, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: integrity
  • 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.


When I was younger, I broke a window playing baseball. It may not seem like a big deal as everyone probably has done this from time to time, but to my family it was. It was a bigger deal because that same window has been broken many times by many baseballs for being right behind our home plate. Regardless, I broke it and when my parents questioned my brother and I; I told them that I had done it. Instead of being punished harshly for my actions as I had expected, I was rewarded for my honesty, with a little punishment of course on the side.

I believe in truth. It is something in my life that has gone without saying. You always tell the truth, because most of the time, it frees you from your mistakes. I have believed that the truth should always come out no matter what the situation. Even when you could get away with a lie, the lie will probably come back around and get you. I have learned through my experiences that it is always better to tell the truth.

I realized this when I was young and watched as my brother didn’t take the chance my parents gave him to tell the truth and ended up getting in more serious trouble. He was 15 and I was 7 when this happened. One day as I watched TV, I saw that out the window, the forest next to my house erupted in flames. My brother and our neighbor had shot off a rocket in the woods. Trees were burning in this fireball of stupidity. They ran back and forth with cups of water, but their efforts were to no avail. Another neighbor saw this fireball and called the fire department. After the fire was extinguished and everyone had gone to their respective houses, my parents came home. The phone rang and I overheard them talking to my neighbor who had called the fire department. Later at dinner, my parents played like they had heard nothing and knew nothing to get my brother to be honest with them. He told them nothing and this ended up being his downfall. My parents had given him the chance to prove his maturity and tell them the truth and he didn’t take it. After school the next day, he thought he had gotten away with it. But he was sat down by my parents and they told him what they knew. He received a more harsh punishment than if he had told them the truth when he was first given the chance.

And to this day I remember this story to remind me that in situations where even you might think you are the only one who knows, you are probably wrong. Especially when others do know the truth behind what happened, it will definitely come out. The truth will always come out whether you like it or not. It could be days, or months or even years later, but it will catch up with you. It could be long after you are beyond punishable time, or it could not, but either way, it will come full circle. And so I believe that you shouldn’t withhold the truth from others or yourself, because in the end it can free you from your faults.