Some interesting hand-made posters decorate the senior high school English classrooms this fall.

I Believe in No Whining

I Believe Hard Work Pays Off

I Believe in Snap Pearls and Cinch Jeans

I Believe Every Person Has Value and Worth

I Believe in Not Taking Things for Granted

I Believe You Should Start Fast and Finish Strong

I Believe in Second Chances

What do you believe?

Midlothian senior students were assigned an essay to illustrate why they believed these statements. The writing exercise is based on a current project sponsored by This I Believe.org, a national collection of more than 100,000 essays that describe the core beliefs of people.

The essays are posted on the thisibelieve.org website, broadcast on public radio and national podcasts. This project is inspired by a popular radio series hosted by Edward R. Murrow in the 1950’s.

Everyone is invited to contribute to the project by writing a statement of personal belief. If you wish to submit an essay to This I Believe.org, tell a story in 300-500 words, based upon your own personal experience that illustrates how your belief was formed. Your story does not have to be funny or heart-rending, but please make it real.  

Don’t focus on a political opinion about a public issue. The organization is not looking for an editorial about a current event. Please proof read your essay before submitting it to the website. Additional essay guidelines are available on the website.

The website is a delight. Titled, “A Public Dialogue About Belief — One Essay at a Time,” many of the brief and meaningful selections are recorded, if you prefer to listen, rather than read.

“Always go To the Funeral,” is a lesson one woman’s father taught her to show respect. “The Power of Comedy” describes a 9-year old boy’s successful attempt to help his mother recover from depression.

The selections are personal, written in words easy to understand. Next time you can’t find an interesting TV show on your 354+ cable channels, take a few minutes to explore ThisIBelieve.org.

In introducing his original 1950’s series, Murrow said, “Never has the need for personal philosophies of this kind been so urgent.”

I would argue that the need is as great now as it was 50 years ago.

Susie Casstevens serves as the librarian for the AH Meadows Public and High School Library. Contact Susie at 972-775-3417 ext 1061 or visit the web at library.midlothian-isd.net