a picture is worth a thousand-word story

RCL: “This I Believe” Draft

So… this is sort of where I’m going with this topic, but I didn’t have much time to edit it and really sort out my thoughts. Consider this a rough, rough draft, mostly because I feel as though I’m not making the point I want to make at the end. Also, it’s too long (as my first drafts always are), so I know I need to cut it down. Suggestions are very welcome.


Connected to the backyard of my childhood home was a grocery store. I use the term “grocery store” very lightly. My small town had little use for much more than the grocery store/gas station/convenience store combination. The daffodil-yellow, eye-sore of a building was hardly bigger than a house, but as a child, I jumped on every opportunity to accompany my dad on a mission for a gallon of milk. “Readysetgo!” I’d shout as soon as our feet left the pavement of our driveway and stepped into the grass. My dad would let me win, which frustrated me to no end. He didn’t need to let me win; I was perfectly capable of beating an adult male in a race all on my own, thank you very much. For as active as I was on the way to the store, I was equally lazy on the trip back. Almost immediately after we left the store, I’d look up at my dad and say, “Carry me, Daddy!” He’d sigh, but would always pick me up and throw me over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry, gallon of milk still in hand. I thought it was so much fun dangling over his back, lifting my head up just before the blood rushing to my head caused pain, bouncing up and down to the beat of his stride as his sturdy shoulder softly jabbed me in the gut. I believed in the fireman’s carry and in the simplistic joy of being held by my dad.

On one occasion, we left the store, and I turned to my dad to ask him to pick me up. Routinely, he sighed and tossed me over his shoulder, but he added, “You’re getting too big. I won’t be able to do this much longer.” Suddenly, my dad’s shoulder hitting me in the gut felt like a rhythmic reminder that I was doomed to grow up, a clock ticking with every step he took. I had always fantasized about growing up and being one of those cool teenagers, but in that moment I wondered what the appeal of growing up was if your dad couldn’t throw you over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry anymore. I lost my belief, and I never asked my dad to carry me back from the store again.

In my naive youth, I didn’t realize the many ways a father can carry his daughter. Though I am much too big for my father to throw me over his shoulder anymore, he does give me his shoulder to cry on, to lean on, to pick me up when I’m falling down. I always thought that needing to be figuratively carried was a sign of vulnerability, and therefore a sign of weakness. It seemed to me that being strong on your own was essential to growing up. I soon learned that vulnerability was not synonymous with weakness. Rather, it is a human quality that is both unavoidable and beautiful. Without vulnerability, without falling down, we would not know who is there to catch us. My dad is there for me when I call him crying at 10 in the morning because I missed an exam, and he never complains when I beg him to come kill the spider on my bedroom wall. He reminds me to drive cautiously during deer season, and he gives me a gruff but convincing “You’re fine” if I sprain my ankle. He calmly explains economics to me when I get frustrated, and he teaches me how to win an argument without teaching me how to win an argument against him. My dad carries me and then sets me back on my feet, always ready to pick me back up again. He gives me his immense knowledge and unyielding wisdom, coupled with both steadfastness and compassion. He teaches me to be ferociously independent, but also to know it’s okay to ask for help. He shows me how to grow up without losing touch with my foundational values. He reminds me to believe in the fireman’s carry.

4 Responses to “RCL: “This I Believe” Draft”

  1. Tanner Quiggle

    As per usual, Hannah’s rough, rough, rough, rough, rough, draft is still probably going to be better than my final draft. However, I will agree with Johnathan that I felt as if you were going to talk about appreciating childhood and the nostalgia that surrounds it. Perhaps this has to do with the way you intimately describe the grocery store, as mentioned in Peter’s comment, but I thought that when the paragraph broke I would be hearing about how we should live everyday as children, not that other people are always there to support us. Perhaps if you cut down on the nostalgia, without ruining the emotional appeal, that would make it shorter and firmer to your point.

    Although, keep in mind I am an engineer, and most of my beliefs are based on math and physics, so take it with a grain of sand!

  2. JP

    I like this a lot! Obviously I have more to say than that though, it wouldn’t be an informative comment without, well, more to say. I personally enjoyed the ending and thought you tied it together pretty well (always room for improvement, although in my opinion, not too much there) but about halfway through the piece I got worried that you were losing your way a little bit, like the focus of the idea had shifted for about a paragraph to, instead of believing in being carried and being helped, to the lose of innocence and your naivety. And while these do tie in well at the end, and you bring it all back, I feel like if theres anywhere you could reasonably shorten down this project, if it does end up being too long, it would be there. In that middle paragraph, I must say, the focus seemed much more on “I believe that childhood must end” than “I believe in the fireman’s carry” AKA, I believe that support, and needing support, can both be good things (I believe that is what you’re going for.). So with that in mind, I would consider looking at that part of your project, and seeing how you can make it crystal clear to the listener that you are not, in fact, changing your idea for a short period of time. Make sure they know you’re still going the same way, so they don’t get confused.

  3. Peter Rivera

    Wow, you had so many emotional moments within this draft that I experienced some intense nostalgia and gratefulness to my own parents. Obviously, this draft is very well-written as always. However, I only have a few suggestions to make.

    I don’t recommend you move anything, as it’s in chronological order (technically), plus the emotional impact is perfect with everything structured the way it is now currently.

    In terms of changes, I don’t really have anything other than that you may need to change some words to allow it to flow better when delivering this on camera. The amount of high level diction within this may be hard to memorize or inject just the right amount of inflection to make a point, but there’s no real corrections to be made here in my opinion. Your transitions are fluid and your words, potent.

    I do have some additions and deletions to recommend. There’s a significant amount of unneeded information in the beginning your draft. The amount of detail to describing the grocery store and the type of store it is, really isn’t needed. I would suggest cutting down from that to better engage your audience in the emotional aspect of your speech (I’m calling it a speech for now) just to better keep them connected and focused on the theme of it through out.

    Also, this statement: “I believed in the fireman’s carry and in the simplistic joy of being held by my dad.” almost gives it away. Personally, I would prefer if you moved the “simplistic joy of being held by my dad” to the beginning so it better fits the description of how your dad carried you. This could be paired with the description of the “fireman’s carry” mention which I think you just need to state it memorably so your audience will remember the theme when you end it by saying “I believe in the fireman’s carry”.

    Overall, very excellent job! I really had to nitpick! I can’t wait to hear this 🙂

  4. Megan Rowland

    I really like your rough draft! I like the introduction, and really like how you tied it together in the end. I do agree that the end could be a little stronger; maybe put more emphasis on how the fireman’s carry transitioned from literally to figuratively. I also like some of the humor you put into it, making it seem like I knew a little of your dad’s personality. It is clear that you and your dad are close and it is nice to see that come out through your writing, and I am sure it will come out even more when you record it. I don’t think you need to focus so heavily on the grocery store in the beginning, because it is not THAT big of a part in the story, but you should still include a sentence about it just to give some background. I really like the idea and it is such a unique topic that it really caught my attention! Good job and cannot wait to hear the final product!

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