This I Believe - Rhode Island

Wednesday at 6:45 AM, 8:45 AM and 5:45 PM

Credit Scott Indermaur

Hosted by Frederic Reamer

Modeled on the popular 1950s radio series of the same name hosted by Edward R. Murrow, This I Believe - Rhode Island, hosted by Frederic Reamer, is an effort to share the many stories of people of Rhode Island... the personal experiences that have helped form the opinions of your neighbors. This I Believe - Rhode Island is also an opportunity for you to share your own beliefs and experiences.

If you are interested in submitting an essay, please see our guidelines here.

It's no secret that our world is saturated with distressing conflict.  Afghanistan. Iraq. Syria. Turkey. Yemen. Lybia. South Sudan. And on and on. Every day, it seems, we're overwhelmed with daunting news of more intractable strife. It can be so hard to find hope in the midst of such horror. Yet, hope we must. As Albert Einstein observed, "Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding." And there are real seeds of such understanding in reflections by Penina Satlow.   

 

Those of us who are raising daughters in this modern era perhaps take it for granted that they have as much opportunity as their male counterparts to enroll in college and reach for the educational stars.  This wasn't always the case, of course, but today no thoughtful American would imagine denying women equal access.  Sadly, in many parts of the world girls and women continue to face insurmountable barriers.  Indeed, some courageous women have challenged the daunting obstacles they face and, along the way, paid a very steep price.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Studying History

Nov 15, 2016

For some, studying history conjures up images of dusty documents piled high in the library stacks or a professor's book-filled office.  How many of us can recall history courses where we studied fistfuls of flashcards before the exam, doing our best to memorize a litany of dates and what seemed like arcane facts that we quickly forgot?  Some of us were fortunate to have truly inspiring and talented teachers who made history come alive, who taught us how to think about our collective past as a way to understand where we are in life now, and where we may be headed.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Providence

Nov 9, 2016

A sense of place.  Community.  Roots.  Some of us spend a lifetime trying to figure out where we're from, who we are, where we belong.  Oliver Wendell Holmes -- the poet and physician whose son became a U.S. Supreme Court Justice -- once wrote, "Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts."  In this encore essay we hear from Ria Mirchandani about her fruitful search for a sense of home as she forges her path in life.

Take a moment and think back to the teachers who had the most profound impact on your life.  One or two may stand out, perhaps more.  What was it about them that was so influential?  The power of their compelling ideas?  Their unique pedagogical skill and charisma?  Or was it something much more subtle, perhaps the quiet and gentle support and encouragement they offered you?  Not all teachers have such impact, but truly special ones do.  Robert Frost wrote, "There are two kinds of teachers: the kind that fill you with so much quail shot that you can't move, and the kind that just gives you a little prod behind and you jump to the skies."  John Walsh clearly appreciates the difference. 

 
 

John Walsh is a partner in the East Greenwich-based communications firm, Walsh & Associates.  He writes a monthly Op-Ed column for the Providence Journal, which published an earlier version of this essay. Walsh also shares observations at johnwalshcopy.com   

  Some losses in life seem absolutely unbearable.  The unanticipated end of an intimate relationship that's at the center of our lives.  The death of a parent who can no longer provide advice or answer our phone calls, or, perhaps the most difficult, the death of a young child.  So often, it seems, the language we use in everyday discourse falls far short of what we need when we are in the midst of such profound grief, such unmitigated, seemingly unending despair.  What many of us discover at these times is that we need something other than words, perhaps the silent presence of a close friend, or the gentle reminders that somehow, some way, life will and must go on.  This is just what happened to Abby Dawes. 

 

Abby Dawes lives in Barrington with her partner, Brian DiSalvo, and their four-year-old son Will.  She is the Head of Regulatory Relations at Citizens Bank.  Dawes wishes to thank the wonderful nurses at Women and Infants Hospital for their care and sends a special thanks to Dr. David Beitel and Dr. Erika Werner.

The parent-child relationship is so very complicated. Inevitably, its texture seems to change over time, rarely in linear fashion.  Most of these relationships are filled with a complex mix of joy, devotion, frustration, commitment, irritation, ecstasy, celebration, and, yes, sporadic fits of anger.  Such is life, no?  As we age, as children become parents, and often caregivers for their own parents, our understanding of this most fundamental relationship evolves, sometimes in unexpected ways.  This we hear from John Minahan. 

 

John Minahan teaches English and Psychology at the Lincoln School in Providence.  Minahan is a former professional musician and college instructor who lives in Providence.  

This I Believe Rhode Island: Art of Teaching

Oct 11, 2016

  Albert Einstein once said, "It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge." That's a rather idealized vision of teaching, of course, and it doesn't always work out that way. Any seasoned teacher can tell you about the complex mix of joyful, frustrating, triumphant and sad moments. Veteran educator David Mellor reminds us that teaching can be full of wonderful surprises delivered in some rather delightful packaging. 
 

David Mellor has taught high school mathematics for more than twenty years. 

  Those of us who are parents seem to assume that one of our principal tasks in life is teaching our children how to navigate this remarkably complicated world.  Whatever our child's talents, insights, proclivities, or special needs, we assume the role of master teacher: How to tie a shoe, complete assignments on time, manage a neighborhood bully, heal the broken heart.  The list seems, and perhaps is, endless.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Ocean

Sep 27, 2016

It's no secret that water is central to life in the Ocean State.  Narragansett, Greenwich, and Mt. Hope Bays; myriad rivers and lakes; and Block Island Sound, our gateway to the Atlantic Ocean.  Muscular ship building, the gentle mainland-to-the-island ferries, riverboat cruises on the Blackstone.  For many of us, our connection to water defines who we are as Rhode Islanders in ways that are not possible in land-locked states.  The famed New England poet E.E.

Exploring our genealogical roots is much more than a fad. This increasingly popular endeavor seems to represent a fundamental – and quite understandable – wish to know from whence we came, both geographically and genetically. And, these searches often yield surprises, some delightfully pleasant, some downright shocking. Indeed, the complex connections among us are quite amazing, reflecting the proverbial family of humankind, as we hear from Mike Fink. 
 

   

Mike Fink is an English professor at the Rhode Island School of Design. He has produced columns in a wide range of local and national magazines and earned the Providence Journal's Metcalf Award and the National Conference for Community Justice Award, as well as the Never Again Award for journalism. 

This I Believe Rhode Island: Rewind

Sep 14, 2016

  In A.A. Milne's classic children's story Winnie the Pooh, the beloved anthropomorphic bear asks Piglet, "What day is it?"  "It's today," squeaked Piglet.  "My favorite day," Pooh replied.  Pooh's profound message, it seems, is that it's so important for us to appreciate the moment we're in -- a moment that won't last forever -- despite whatever wishes we might have to hold tight to the most precious events in our lives.  And we hear compelling echoes of that very wise insight from Rabbi Sarah Mack.

 

Rabbi Sarah Mack, a native of Seattle, Washington, is a member of the clergy at Temple Beth-El in Providence. 

This I Believe Rhode Island: Trust

Sep 6, 2016

Trust is an essential element in the human species.  We depend on trust for our very survival.  An infant cannot survive without being able to trust her nurturing parent.  Marriages that lack trust hit a dead end.  Handshakes that seal a business deal assume genuine trust, which sometimes springs from a leap of faith.  As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Trust your instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.” Bill Miles reflects on the most basic form of trust that connects human beings and other creatures.    

 

Personal courage takes many forms. For some, it’s standing up to a relentlessly abusive oppressor.  For others, courage is facing difficult truths about one’s self, or coping with a daunting health condition.  And for some, courage means standing by one’s deep-seated, heartfelt beliefs, especially in the midst of a potentially hostile environment.  Aristotle wrote, “You will never do anything in this world without courage.”  Seventeen-year-old Areeba Khan has learned how to live up to those wise words at a very young age.

Areeba Khan is entering the 12th grade at Sharon High School in Massachusetts.

Here’s the modern lament that comes out of so many of our mouths:  If only people would get their noses out of their smartphones, we could return to the days when people really connected with each other and engaged in meaningful communication.  Oh the perils of Facebook, Face Time, BuzzFeed, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Foursquare, and all of their digital cousins.  For so many of us, life seems saturated with technology and with smartphone apps that seem to shape our contemporary identities.

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