this I believe

This I Believe Rhode Island: Seasons

Apr 12, 2016

No doubt you have noticed how our lives ebb and flow, much like the seasons. Both literally and figuratively we get to experience the wonder of stunningly beautiful spring days and the bitter assault delivered by the occasional winter blizzard. Such is life.  

Life is filled with a complex mix of big and small moments.  Alongside the banner events of births, deaths, weddings, and graduations are quieter, albeit perhaps equally significant moments in our lives, those moments that arise out of brief, unanticipated, often random kindnesses.  As the ancient Greek storyteller Aesop once wrote, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” And this we hear in the thoughts of Kevin Blanchard.

Kevin Blanchard grew up in the hills of central Massachusetts and teaches English at Barrington High School.  Each summer, he and his family spend their vacation time in northern New England.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Revision

Mar 29, 2016

In Plato's Apology, Socrates asserts that the unexamined life is not worth living.  While that may be a bit of an overstatement, many of us have learned during the course of our lives that self-examination that has real depth is a virtue that pays impressive dividends.  We understand ourselves better and, one would hope, enhance the meaning and purpose of our lives.  As we hear from Kenneth Schneyer, self-reflection, and the careful revision that results, also has the capacity to refine the profoundly important words we speak and write.


Kenneth Schneyer writes science fiction and fantasy, and teaches Humanities and Legal Studies at Johnson & Wales University.  

This I Believe Rhode Island: Gravestones

Mar 22, 2016

Perhaps most of us have spent some time anticipating our own deaths, our own mortality.  Maybe these are but fleeting moments, or maybe not.  Have you ever pictured the gravestone meant for you, and what it might mean to those who visit your gravesite?  For many of us this may be a macabre subject, one that’s hard to embrace.  But as we hear from Nicholas Benson, gravestones can host profound messages that convey so much about the stories of our lives – who we were, what we aimed to be, the very essence of our being.


Nicholas Benson owns the John Stevens Shop in Newport, RI, a small stone carving business founded in 1705, that specializes in the design and carving of one-of-a-kind inscriptions in stone.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Second Chances

Mar 15, 2016

All of us have had one of those really bad days during the course of our lives -- the kind of day that turns into a genuine nightmare, the kind of day that haunts us until our last breath, the kind of day we'd like to erase from our lives if only it were possible.  If we're fortunate, we figure out a way to move on, and if we're really fortunate, we manage to turn tragedy into a rich collection of compelling lessons that last a lifetime.  And that's what happened with Miguel Rosario.

Miguel Rosario spent his earliest years growing up in the Caribbean and Providence. His passion for photography started in 2009, when he began documenting life in his ancestral Dominican town of Moncion.

  Who doesn't love a good story?  We begin hearing stories when we're tiny children and then develop our own. Sometimes joyful. Sometimes painful.  For most of us, there's a rich and compelling mix. As the poet and writer Maya Angelou once said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”  And Nancy Jasper feels much the same.

Nancy Jasper is a clinical social worker who has lived in Rhode Island since 1970.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Parents' Journey

Mar 1, 2016

  Last week we heard from an eighth-grade student, Will Malloy, who shared his deeply personal thoughts about his recent decision to transition from female to male.  Will told us about the challenges he faced when he decided to go public, and about the love and support he has received along the way.  This week we hear from Will’s parents – Liz and Steven Malloy – about their own journey.

Liz and Steven Malloy, parents of Will Malloy, live in Warwick.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Acceptance

Feb 23, 2016

  Under the best of circumstances, adolescence can be a challenging time.  Navigating shifting friendships.  Sorting out relationships with parents.  Fantasizing about what the future may hold.  For some, adolescence is also a time to sort out one’s identity in much more fundamental ways that seem so essential, so compelling.  As Ralph Ellison wrote in his novel Invisible Man, “When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.”  And we hear echoes of these sentiments from thirteen-year-old Will Malloy.

Will Malloy is an eighth-grade student at the Moses Brown School in Providence.  He lives with his family in Warwick.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Identity

Feb 16, 2016

  The famed writer and poet Gertrude Stein once said, ''Growing has no connection with audience. Audience has no connection with identity." Stein's claim, it seems, is that our true identity is embedded deep within each of us and develops over the years in its own inexorable way. It's a complex, even debatable phenomenon, as Alex Myers knows very, very well.


Before moving to Washington, DC, Alex Myers taught English at St. George's School in Middletown. His first novel, Revolutionary, tells the story of Deborah Samson, who disguised herself as a man and fought in the Revolutionary War.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Kindness

Feb 9, 2016

 Too often, it seems kindness in our world is in short supply.  Politicians take vicious swipes at each other during election season.  Talk-show callers rant on the airwaves.  Irritated drivers share their angry sentiments with, well, you know.  Yet, amidst the angry storms that surround us, there are wonderful, often quiet and poignant moments of kindness – people treating each other with gentleness, compassion, and genuine civility.  Too often these moments get lost in the noisy, chaos, but sometimes the astute among us notice and learn from them, which is just what happened to thirteen-year-old Jessica Kelly. 

Jessica Kelly is an eighth-grade student at the Moses Brown School in Providence.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Climate Change

Feb 2, 2016

Climate change is a hot button issue, that’s for sure. Reputable survey after survey indicate that the majority of people believe that climate change is a serious problem. And then we get to the hard part: what to do about it, and about that there’s less consensus.  But what we do know is that a stalwart group of Rhode Islanders is out in front, taking the lead in remarkably earnest efforts to address this intimidating challenge.  Timmons Roberts couldn’t be more pleased.  As Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”


Timmons Roberts is professor of environmental sociology at Brown University, and helped lead the Resilient Rhode Island team in supporting the passage of the state’s first comprehensive climate change legislation.  In 2016 he’s helping a coalition working on a bill to reduce emissions and create jobs through putting a price on carbon.

This I Believe Rhode lsland: Hamlet

Jan 26, 2016

  Imagine yourself as a high school English teacher trying to inspire your students to grapple with the complex nuances embedded in Shakespearian literature.  Not an easy task, you may be thinking.  But as many of us have come to know and appreciate, often many years post-high school, Shakespeare is chock full of profound insights and life lessons, if only we have the patience and persistence to delve into the Bard’s writings.   English teacher Chris McEnroe brings Shakespeare into his own life, along with those of his students.

Chris McEnroe has been on the English department faculty at Tabor Academy in Marion, Massachusetts since 2005.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Winter

Jan 19, 2016

  Here we are, right smack in the heart of another New England winter.  For some, this stretch of months with early sunsets is filled with dread -- frosty temperatures, snow piles to shovel, and ice patches to dodge.  But for others of us, this wintry mix is the stuff of pure delight.  As the poet Robert Frost wrote, "You can't get too much winter in the winter."  And we hear similar sentiments from Gabriel Warren.

Gabriel Warren is a sculptor living in both South County, Rhode Island and Nova Scotia, Canada.  Warren works primarily in sheet metals and is especially interested in juxtaposing elements that refer to the natural world and man-made objects.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Normalcy

Jan 12, 2016

All of us have grown weary of the steady diet of dreadful news that saturates radio and television broadcasts, newspaper headlines, and social media alerts: terrorist bombings, mass shootings, gang violence, urban riots.  The list seems painfully unending.  Yet most of us somehow march through our days with a remarkable sense of normalcy and nonchalance, albeit perhaps with at least a hum of anxiety about when the next shoe will drop.  For many, making sense of this stark juxtaposition – the ever-present awareness of international and national horror that sits alongside our relatively prosaic lives – poses an existential challenge, which is certainly the case for Noel Rubinton.

Noel Rubinton, a Brown University graduate, is a Providence-based writer and communications consultant.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Milestones

Jan 5, 2016

As we march through life, most of us develop deeper, richer, and more nuanced insights about what this journey means.  Isn’t it true that, under the best of circumstances, aging brings wisdom, some of which requires that significant portions of our lives are in the rearview mirror?  The poet Mary Oliver wrote, “Instructions for living a life.  Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”  Lifelong Rhode Islander, Jack Partridge, tells us about it.

Jack Partridge, a Providence College and Harvard Law School graduate, has lived in Rhode Island for nearly all of his 75 years.  He is an attorney with the Providence law firm, Partridge, Snow and Hahn.