Saturday, January 8, 2011

What you should be listening to... #3 This I Believe

My daughter is involved in the Upward Bound program. This past year they were provided with the book "This I Believe". It is a book of essays detailing personal beliefs from the original 1950's series as well as contemporary essays. The funny thing is, I had been listening to this podcast for almost 6 months prior to this.

Original started by Edward R. Murrow, It was revived several years ago by executive producer Dan Gediman and is now broadcast weekly on the Bob Edward's Show (Check your local listings). I have been moved to tears by many of the essays I have heard over the past year both on the show and by the essays the students of the Upward Bound program read last Summer at their annual banquet.

One of my favorite recent essays is by Sharron Denney of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Please check out her essay, "Come to My Table" As a person who is passionate about food it is inspiring. My favorite line, "I prepare it with love, and you carry my love in the very cells of your body. That's power."

I strongly encourage you to subscribe to the podcast and to make a tax deductible contribution to This I Believe.

Even if you don't contribute money, contribute your beliefs. Here are their Essay writing guidelines:
  • Tell a story: Be specific. Take your belief out of the ether and ground it in the events of your life. Consider moments when belief was formed or tested or changed. Think of your own experience, work, and family, and tell of the things you know that no one else does. Your story need not be heart-warming or gut-wrenching—it can even be funny—but it should be real. Make sure your story ties to the essence of your daily life philosophy and the shaping of your beliefs.
  • Be brief: Your statement should be between 350 and 500 words. That’s about three minutes when read aloud at your natural pace.
  • Name your belief: If you can’t name it in a sentence or two, your essay might not be about belief. Also, rather than writing a list, consider focusing on one core belief, because three minutes is a very short time.
  • Be positive: Please avoid preaching or editorializing. Tell us what you do believe, not what you don’t believe. Avoid speaking in the editorial “we.” Make your essay about you; speak in the first person.
  • Be personal: Write in words and phrases that are comfortable for you to speak. We recommend you read your essay aloud to yourself several times, and each time edit it and simplify it until you find the words, tone, and story that truly echo your belief and the way you speak.

If you feel comfortable enough, share them here.

In a future post I will share my own statement of beliefs, but for now I wish you all Peace, Love, and Hollandaise Sauce!

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