What do you believe?
NPR's "This I Believe" series was based on a 1950s radio show hosted by Edward Murrow. In introducing the series, Murrow said, “Never has the need for personal philosophies of this kind been so urgent.” Today, the expression of personal philosophies and beliefs continues to shape the way we understand ourselves, each other, and the world at large.
A quick survey of recent "This I Believe" statements on NPR covered the following topics: baseball, ghosts, poetry, practice and hard work, not wearing make-up, silence, science fiction, and the power of love... As you can see, beliefs can cover just about anything!
Listen to these wonderful examples, archived by National Public Radio, and then write your own reflection on something you believe.
Your statement of belief can be any length. Perhaps you will write a full essay, or perhaps you will capture the core of your belief in just a handful or words...
NPR gives writers of "This I Believe" statements the following advice: Tell a story. Be brief. Name your belief. Be positive. Be personal.
Below are some additional suggestions to consider when writing this reflection:
- Do you tell a story, describe a scene, or draw on a memory to illustrate your belief?
- Do you name your belief?
- Do you draw the reader into your statement by using a hook? Perhaps you launch right into an anecdote. Or perhaps you begin with a surprising statement, a quotation, a statistic or fact, or a rhetorical question.
Don't Know How to Start? Try the following:
- Start out by making a list of 5-10 beliefs, mundane or grand.
- For each item on your list, put a star next to the ones that really tug at something inside of you. Which stir up the most emotion, the most conviction?
- Narrow the starred items down to 2-3, and think about a memory that represents or demonstrates where this belief came from or why it is significant in your life. What story can you tell that demonstrates the essence of this belief?