This I Believe is a movement encouraging people to share, in essay format, their core values guiding their everyday lives. The movement began in the 1950s with radio host Edward R. Murrow.
When This I Believe was conceived, one of the goals was “to facilitate a higher standard of active public discourse by inspiring people to reflect, encouraging them to share, and engaging them in a conversation about personal values and beliefs that can shape a life, a community, and a society. By inviting Americans of diverse backgrounds to participate in the series, we hope to create a picture of the American spirit in all its rich complexity.”
This year, seniors and a few faculty members will be delivering their own This I Believe essays in our Monday assemblies. The videos on this page will be updated as each member of the senior class delivers their speech.
Harrison ZumbrunI believe we need to understand one another. Yes, that is a “we”: everyone should try to understand one another. Surprisingly, I don’t know everything. Neither does anyone in this room. There is one piece of information that each of us has that another does not. This could be a particular feeling to a particular experience, a hidden talent, or maybe even a hidden interest. This understanding is essential to proper communication.
How many of you here have got into some sort of argument due to a misunderstanding? Raise your hands if you have. How many of you here resolved this misunderstanding and grew closer to whomever this argument was with? Raise your hands. And, how many of you have lost a friend because of it? I can’t say I have not. I do not think anyone else in this room could say they have not, either. These misunderstandings that we make based on a lack of seeking clarification ruin our relationships with one another. They tear us apart and turn our best friends into our worst enemies.
I talk to people all of the time, whether it be during a video game to try to gain a victory, during a political discussion, or during a movie (sorry), but this “talking” is incoherent. I don’t always think about another’s experience, or what they may or may not know. I make an assumption about what the person is trying to convey, which may be entirely opposite of what they were trying to convey. They tell me something, yet I walk away with an entirely different message, hearing the same words they had spoken. Like a book has multiple interpretations, every conversation we have is bound to be interpreted differently by each individual. This is by no means a good thing. I am perceiving the message differently than the sender. It's like being told I can buy a property in Monopoly, but not realizing I really need to buy one or I am going to lose. A more comical example of why this is a bad thing, that a lot of the gamers will relate to, is when I was trying to score that victory and I used some terminology relating to that game that the individual I was spectating, or for all the non-gamers out there, "viewing", does not know and I ended up losing the tie-breaking round because of it. It’s just a game, I know, and it’s not a heart-breaking example, since everyone can use something light-hearted on a Monday. And, yeah, I just related video games to why we need to understand one another, but there is so much more than just this.
I am not saying there will not be a time where everyone will always understand one another, or everyone will get along, but why not try? Why not try to make it easier for everyone. Why don’t I try to make it easier for myself? We all have the ability to stop and ask someone why they think a certain way, why they are so happy, why they are so sad. We all can put forth the effort to try to understand one another. We can all put forth the effort to save a friendship or our time over some stupid argument. Maybe we could end conflict all together. So, I leave you all with the same question that I will leave with myself: what can you do to understand one person a little bit more? Thank you.
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