This I Believe (As taught to me by my father)

Kathleen - Arboles, Colorado
Entered on January 19, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65
  • 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.

This I Believe

My father was a man of quiet wisdom, an ordinary man with an extraordinary heart. What he taught me, this I believe.

My father taught me

that a spider web backlit by the rising sun,

sprinkled with dew,

should not be broken.

My father taught me that

a river takes the

straightest crooked course,

the path of least resistance

carving right through stone; and that

walks along the river bluffs

felt different than

our walks through Jemez Mountains

and yet the same;

he taught me with his feet,

my father taught me.

Birds repeat our every word,

my father taught me, and

fish know we’re approaching; so

move quietly, attentively

to hear, to see,

my father taught me.

Water running over stone

sings the same song but with

seasonal refrains; and

caterpillars on a soft mud path

whisper when they cross a leaf,

my father taught me; and

sunsets sound like tunes

we’ve heard but cannot name.

My father taught me that in the heat

those wavy lines on our distant path can

look like water;

don’t be deceived,

my father taught me.

Making a living

has little to do with making money,

my father taught me;

learning to drive is more than

steering between white lines,

my father taught me;

raising children also involves white lines

and steering; but

marriage is more about the lines

and less about the steering,

my father taught me.

My father taught me that

grandchildren have better ears than

children, and longer memories.

My father taught me that

when a ladybug lands in our path we

step over or walk around but

when the souls of broken people lie in our path

we help them to their feet.

My father taught me that sometimes

you must take an arm,

not be too quick to lend a hand.

My father taught me that

a setting sun may look like a rising sun but

west is a world from east.

My father taught me that

eagles need food to live

and not just water.

My father taught me that

a dishpan of popcorn

readies the heart for nightly prayers, and

beautiful music is best enjoyed when

eyes are closed and feet are on the hassock.

My father taught me that

migrating birds know,

they just know,

when it’s time and

where they’re going; and

much can be said with

very few words,

my father taught me.

Sometimes you can see the opposite shore,

my father taught me, so

you should pick the best place to stand

to make an easy crossing,

my father taught me.

My father taught me

to teach our son.