The Promise of You

Ever since the Echo approached me about writing a piece for the opinions section a few weeks back I have been trying to settle on a topic. Insofar as "opinions" pieces are supposed to give some insight into what the writer believes I decided to share some of what I believe with all of you. So, with a nod to NPR and its long running series This I Believe, I would offer the following:

I believe in good novels and cheesy movies and reruns of Seinfeld.

I believe in handwritten letters sent by snail-mail. (Cursive or printed, at one's discretion. Using hearts or smiley faces to dot one's "i's" is unacceptable.)

I believe in Levis 550's (red tag) blue jeans, well-worn sweatshirts, canvas Chuck Taylor's, and Bean's Wicked Good slippers.

I believe wearing flip-flops in January is dopey.

I believe in Santa Claus, Dr. Seuss, The Giving Tree, and Winnie-the-Pooh (A.A. Milne's stories a lot; Disney's movies much less).

I believe voting is both a right and a responsibility.

I believe in registering with a political party but not voting a straight party ticket.

I believe in the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Bach's violin concertos, and Beethoven's 7th and 9th symphonies. I also believe in lots of musicians and composers whose names don't begin with the letter "B."

I believe in alliteration. And sarcasm.

I believe in the designated hitter. And I believe 99% of the people who oppose it are self-important blowhards who think making a double switch is the intellectual equivalent of splitting the atom. The other 1% just need to get over it. Big Papi going deep beats Cole Hamels striking out looking by a lot.

I believe in Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. Period.

I believe in the Boston Red Sox, and that if there ever was a "Curse of the Bambino" it ended when Dave Roberts stole second base in the top of the ninth inning of game four of the 2004 ALCS.

I believe in reading actual (as opposed to virtual) newspapers on Sunday morning.

I believe you should know the words to your national anthem and your college's alma mater and I believe you should stand up and sing them when they are played.

I believe in doing all, not just some or most of the reading and written work that is assigned for every class. But I didn't figure that out until I was a 26 year-old graduate student so I will understand if you're rolling your eyes right now.

I believe in hot tea, ice water, and beer in bottles.

I believe in standard shift cars, front-wheel drive, and snow tires. And I totally believe in heated seats.

I believe in Martin acoustic guitars. I believe everyone who is able should have the experience of singing in public at least once in their life.

I believe humility is good for the soul.

I believe in shaped skis and high-speed quads. I believe in Mulligan's on the first tee because who really cares.

I believe in shooting far-post and low, and staying with your marks until the play is over.

I believe in doing crossword puzzles in pen.

I believe listening is more important than speaking and hearing is more important than listening.

I believe in making the bed and rinsing the toothpaste out of the sink and doing the dishes and not leaving clothes in a heap on the floor. But I also believe that if I don't have to look at, smell, or climb over your mess then I'm not going to get worked up about it.

I believe paying taxes is, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "the price we pay for a civilized society."

I believe talking in movie theaters should be against the law.

I believe in cheering for your team at athletic contests.

I believe it's better to be a Mule than a Bobcat or a Polar Bear any day.

I believe in woodstoves and hugging your kids and tipping well.

I believe cruelty is our worst transgression and kindness is our greatest gift.

Mostly, I believe in the power of education; teaching and learning. I believe college matters and I believe in Colby. I believe that pushing the boundaries of what you know and questioning what you believe and stretching your ability to think is essential to realizing your full potential.

And above all else, I believe in the promise of you - Colby students. I believe that you care about Colby and yourselves and each other and your communities and the world. I believe that you are smart and industrious and creative and hard working. I believe you have a sense of responsibility and a sense of humor. I believe you do not fully know the breadth of your own capacity for hard work, for knowledge, for compassion, for discovery. But I am certain you will find it. 

I believe in the promise of you as I have believed in the promise of those who came to Mayflower Hill before you and I will believe in the promise of those who will walk in your footsteps here after you're gone. I believe in the promise of you because I believe in Colby. And more, because I believe in you.

*This piece also appears in the Opinions section of the October 31, 2012 issue of The Colby Echo.