“This I Believe” is more than a powerful statement. It’s an international movement based on a 1950s radio program of the same name, hosted by acclaimed journalist Edward R. Murrow. In 2004, This I Believe was founded as an independent, not-for-profit organization that engages youth and adults from all walks of life in writing, sharing, and discussing brief essays about the core values that guide their daily lives.
Now in 2013, This I Believe is coming to our community in the form of a partnership between the Harbor Light Newspaper and the Harbor Springs Library, here in Harbor Springs, Michigan. Accepting submissions on a rolling basis, the up-to 500 word essays will be collected for a website, printed in this newspaper, and read at community gatherings hosted at the library. A continuous celebration of stories from all ages, this project will seek to give voice to a community, in its own words.
To participate, simply put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and finish the thought: “this I believe.”
Here’s some additional guidelines, provided by This I Believe (www.thisibelieve.org)
We understand how challenging this is—it requires such intimacy that no one else can do it for you. To guide you through this process, we offer these suggestions:
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.
In a time when personal statements of belief– as hard as they can be to describe– are more important than ever, we’re humbled to offer a chance to be witness to the beliefs of our community. Gather the generations of a family together, task a book club, or simply commit to doing this for yourself– just find a way to commit to contributing to this vital and wonderful community project, and when you do, submit your essay to me at the Harbor Light Newspaper using the contact us form below, or mail it to the Harbor Light Newspaper, 211 E. Third Street, Harbor Springs, MI. 49740.
–Kate Bassett, Editor, Harbor Light Newspaper, www.harborlightnews.com