This I Believe II: More Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women

This I Believe II: More Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women

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Overview

This I Believe II: More Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women by Jay Allison, Dan Gediman

The new paperback in the bestselling series of inspiring personal philosophies

This collection of This I Believe essays gathers seventy-five essayists—ranging from famous to previously unknown—completing the thought that begins the book's title. With contributors who run the gamut from cellist Yo-Yo Ma, to professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, to ordinary folks like a diner waitress, an Iraq War veteran, a farmer, a new husband, and many others, This I Believe II, like the first New York Times bestselling collection, showcases moving and irresistible essays.

Included are Sister Helen Prejean writing about learning what she truly believes through watching her own actions, singer Jimmie Dale Gilmore writing about a hard-won wisdom based on being generous to others, and Robert Fulghum writing about dancing all the dances for as long as he can. Readers will also find wonderful and surprising essays about forgiveness, personal integrity, and honoring life and change.

Here is a welcome, stirring, and provocative communion with the minds and hearts of a diverse, new group of people—whose beliefs and the remarkably varied ways in which they choose to express them reveal the American spirit at its best.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780805090895
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 07/21/2009
Series: This I Believe
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 149,092
Product dimensions: 5.26(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.78(d)

About the Author

Jay Allison is one of public radio's most honored producers. He has produced hundreds of nationally broadcast documentaries and features for radio and television. His work has earned him the duPont-Columbia and five Peabody Awards, and he was the 1996 recipient of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Edward R. Murrow Award for outstanding contributions to public radio, the industry's highest honor. He was the curator and producer of This I Believe on NPR and he produces The Moth Radio Hour. Before his career in broadcasting, Jay was a theater director in Washington, D.C. He is also the founder of the public radio stations for Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and Cape Cod where he lives.

Dan Gediman is the executive producer of This I Believe. His work has been heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Fresh Air, Marketplace, Jazz Profiles, and This American Life. He has won many of public broadcasting's most prestigious awards, including the duPont-Columbia Award.

Read an Excerpt

Finding the Strength to Fight Our Fears

Terry Ahwal

I believe in fighting fear.

When I was eleven years old and living under the Israeli occupation, I took a chance and after curfew I ran to visit my grandmother who lived two blocks away from us. On the road I had to hide under a truck to avoid soldiers who were coming my way. For twenty minutes I lay there in utter fear watching their boots walk back and forth in front of the truck. My heart was pounding so fast and loud that I was afraid one of the soldiers would hear it and I would be killed instantly.

To calm myself, I started begging God to take mercyon me and save me from these men and their guns. I remembered the words of my mother after Israeli soldiers beat my father. She told us to put our fear and anger aside and pray for the poor soldiers, who were also afraid because they were away from their homes in Israel.

I began to feel bad for the soldiers. I wondered: Where do they sleep and are they afraid of little children like me? What kind of food do they eat? Do they have big or small families? Their voices began to remind me of my neighbors. My fear dissipated a bit as I pictured the soldiers as people I knew. Although my twenty minutes under the truck seemed like an eternity, I believe that shedding my fear literally saved my life.

Thirty- six years later I look around and see another kind of devastation created by fear. I saw the collapse of my city, Detroit, when so many white people fied the city out of fear. After 9/11, the Arab and Muslim communities segregated themselves because of the level of suspicion directed at them from others. Fear of association because of ethnicity led many to retreat within themselves and their community. They stopped socializing with non- Arab/ Muslim colleagues and neighbors. Once again, we allow differences to separate us because of fear.

When I was hiding under that truck, if my terror had made me lose control and I had started to cry, the jittery soldiers might have pulled the trigger because of their own fears. Thank God I lived to wonder about this. I understood as a child that fear can be deadly.

I believe it is fear we should be fighting, not the “other.” We all belong to the same human tribe; that kinship supersedes our differences. We are all soldiers patrolling the road, and we’re all little children hiding under the truck.

Terry Ahwal was born in the West Bank city of Ramallah, and now lives with her family near Detroit. She is development director for the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, and teaches classes in nonviolent communication at Madonna University. Ahwal said her husband’s family is Jewish and that Thanksgiving in their house hold is a mix of Jews and Arabs coming together with no uneasiness.

Excerpted from This I Believe II by Jay Allison.

Copyright © 2009 by by Jay Allison.

Published in July 2009 by Henry Holt and Company.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction
JAY ALLISON

Finding the Strength to Fight Our Fears
TERRY AHWAL

I Will Take My Voice Back
QUIQUE AVILES

A Silent Night That Brought Healing
STEVE BANKO

Living with Integrity
BOB BARRET

The Strange Blessing That Brought Me Home
ROBIN BAUDIER

Returning to What's Natural
AMELIA BAXTER-STOLTZFUS

The Right to Be Fully American
YASIR BILLOO

The Person I'm Supposed to Be
ANDY BLOWERS

Making It Up as I Go Along
ALICE BROCK

Sticking My Nose in the World's Business
BRIGID DAULL BROCKWAY

Teaching a Bad Dog New Tricks
DAVID BUETOW

The Learning Curve of Gratitude
MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER

Failure Is a Good Thing
JON CARROLL

The Faith That Brings Me Peace
BETSY CHALMERS

The Person I Want to Bring into This World
LAURA SHIPLER CHICO

The Deeper Well of Memory
CHRISTINE CLEARY

A Marriage That's Good Enough
CORINNE COLBERT

Creating Our Own Happiness
WAYNE COYNE

A Way to Honor Life
CORTNEY DAVIS

We Never Go Away
DENNIS DOWNEY

The Questions We Must Ask
TAMAR DUKE-COHAN

Learning True Tolerance
JOEL ENGARDIO

Doing Things My Own Way
BELA FLECK

Dancing All the Dances as Long as I Can
ROBERT FULGHUM

A Reverence for All Life
MICHELLE GARDNER-QUINN

A Feeling of Wildness
DAVID GESSNER

All the Joy the World Contains
JIMMIE DALE GILMORE

As I Grow Old
DAVID GREENBERGER

Untold Stories of Kindness
ERNESTO HAIBI

Peace Begins with One Person
IVORY HARLOW

Do What You Love
TONY HAWK

Combating the Tyranny of the Positive Attitude
BARBARA HELD

My Husband Will Call Me Tomorrow
BECKY HERZ

The Tense Middle
ROALD HOFFMANN

Living in the Here and Now
JEFFREY HOLLENDER

Inner Strength from Desperate Times
JAKE HOVENDEN

Becoming a Parent Is a Gift
CHRIS HUNTINGTON

Finding Redemption Through Acceptance
INTERROGATOR

Paying Attention to the Silver Lining
ANNALIESE JAKIMIDES

There Is No Blame; There Is Only Love
ANN KARASINSKI

The Universe Is Conspiring to Help Us
KEVIN KELLY

We All Need Mending
SUSAN COOKE KITTREDGE

Telling Kids the Whole Truth
MARTHA LEATHE

Every Person Is Precious
ISABEL LEGARDA

Navigating Turbulent Waters
JIMMY LIAO

All Beings Are Interconnected
JAMES LONEY

A Musician of Many Cultures
YO-YO MA

Being Content with Myself
KAMAAL MAJEED

Be Cool
CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE

That Old Piece of Cloth
FRANK MILLER

My Home Is New Orleans
MIKE MILLER

That Golden Rule Thing
CRAIG NEWMARK

My Personal Leap of Faith
BILL NUNAN

Admittance to a Better Life
MICHAEL OATMAN

Living What You Do Every Day
YOLANDA O'BANNON

The Long Road to Forgiveness
KIM PHUC

The Practice of Slowing Down
PHIL POWERS

Living My Prayer
SISTER HELEN PREJEAN

The Chance to Move Forward
MARIA MAYO ROBBINS

Utterly Humbled by Mystery
FATHER RICHARD ROHR

I Always Have a Choice
CATHERINE ROYCE

I Am Not My Body
LISA SANDIN

Resilience Is a Gift
JOEL SCHMIDT

The Designated Celebrator
MELINDA SHOAF

Baking by Senses and Memories
EMILY SMITH

Learning to Trust My Intuition
CYNTHIA SOMMER

An Optimistic View of the World
DAN TANI

Community in Action
STUDS TERKEL

Music Makes Me Come Alive
JOAN TOWER

God Is God Because He Remembers
ELIE WIESEL

The Guts to Keep Going
AMY LYLES WILSON

Freeing Myself Through Forgiveness
YOLANDA YOUNG

A Potential for Brutality
YINONG YOUNG-XU

A Duty to Family, Heritage, and Country
YING YING YU

We're All Different in Our Own Ways
JOSHUA YUCHASZ

Afterword
DAN GEDIMAN

APPENDIX A:
How to Write Your Own This I Believe Essay

APPENDIX B:
How to Use This I Believe in Your Community

Acknowledgments

Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

1. Dramatic events such as Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq War are topics in many of these essays. How, if at all, have recent events shaped your beliefs?

2. Belief in mankind is a common theme among Ernesto Haibi, Roald Hoffmann, and many more. What are some of the recurring threads in these essays? What are their differences? How do these essays stand in light of Yinong Young-Xu's "A Potential for Brutality"? Can these views be reconciled?

3. Tony Hawk, a skateboarder, Yolanda O'Bannon, a secretary, and Dan Tani, an astronaut, write about doing what they love. What does it take to follow one's own path? What sacrifices are required? What would you be doing, if you could?

4. Several of the essays discuss the role music can play in discovering belief, such as Bela Fleck's thoughts on figuring out his own way to do things, Yo-Yo Ma's observations on exploring cultures and traditions, and Joan Tower's view on the power of music. Why do you think music can be such a powerful tool in determining beliefs?

5. Susan Cooke Kittredge writes, "I believe in mending." Do we all need mending? She is starting with her pajamas. Where would you start?

6. Laura Shipler Chico discussed the three qualities she'd like her child to have. What three qualities would you choose for a child? How about for yourself or a mate?

7. Robin Baudier and Andy Blowers turned adversity into what Baudier calls "strange blessings." Is there anything in your own life that could be called a strange blessing?

8. David Buetow believes in his dog. How does looking beyond the human—to animals, things, and places—influence the way we believe or behave?

9. Among the vastly different views on marriage in the world are Corinne Colbert's belief that her husband is "good enough" and Betsy Chalmers's perspective of loyalty to an incarcerated spouse. Are there any universal truths about marriage?

10. This book includes essays from students, as well as essays on growing old. What differences or similarities do you find between these age-specific essays, if any?

11. Do you agree with Sister Helen Prejean, that what we do is what we believe? If so, would you want to change anything you do to better match your beliefs? Do you think that most people would be proud to claim their actions as beliefs?

12. If peace begins with one person, as Ivory Harlow believes, how can each of us contribute? Do any of these essays inspire you to action?

13. What do you believe? What were your greatest influences in shaping those beliefs? How have your beliefs changed throughout your life?

14. Has there been someone in your life who instilled your beliefs in you or inspired you in that way?

15. Is there a time when your core beliefs were shaken or tested, perhaps in ways that were uncomfortable or dangerous?

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This I Believe II: More Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
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