This I Believe

Human interaction has always been an interesting phenomenon in its unexpected results and complications. It is this theme that Katherine Debiec focuses on in her piece, “Finding My Father in a Small World.” She recounts one phrase that her late father frequently stated — “What a small world!” — and remembers his openness to individuals of all backgrounds  and personalities. She explores the legacy that her father left her and realizes that what he did leave her with is ingrained in her daily habit: bringing people closer together through conversation. What particularly struck me — and what she saw as a gift from her late father — is her outlook on human interactions: “In our journeys together, [my father] showed me how not to be intimidated by boundaries, borders or new languages and to make companions of strangers whether we were sitting on a bus stop, climbing mountains, or crossing oceans.” In a world where virtual communication has supplemented face-to-face contact, it is easy to forget the bare elements of socializing and that other people do exist outside our computer screens.

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3 Responses to This I Believe

  1. klucenko says:

    A great essay. There’s something in the way the writer describes her father that I admire. Clearly he had some flaws, and they spent a good deal of time apart from one another. At the same time, this essay affirms him, and their continuing relationship. What she offers us here is a portrait of a man who gave her a gift (and one could argue that this essay speaks to the generosity of the author).

  2. rebeccasadique says:

    There are a lot of essays about parental relationships on http://www.thisibelieve.org. Perhaps because we are shaped by and adopt our parents’ many tendencies and habits. You are so right when it comes to your last line. A lot of people don’t do small talk anymore, or even engage in conversation with strangers on the train. I remember my mom talking to a lot of random people in the grocery store and hair salon when I was younger, nowadays people are more focused on their phones. Although you *could* argue that youngsters these days are more social than we are right now in that they manage 3-4 conversations at a time (facebook, twitter, etc.). They can talk to multiple people at the same time, have different conversations. People never really did that back when the only way to communicate was through phones and “snail mail.”

  3. cierrarouse says:

    After hearing you describe this piece in class I took interest and read it on my own. One of my favorite aspects was definitely that even those this is a story of admiration towards the father, he is still kept very human. In a lot of stories writers tend to build the topic up so it becomes like a fictional character rather than a person. This puts them on a pedestal and makes it hard for a reader to relate and in my opinion this loses some of their worth. The concept of a gift being human interactions is a very unique ones. In a way not finding a material artifact passed down could seem disappointing, but the writer takes it as the greatest gift. What is more practical in life than passing down one of the key factors in taking the fullest advantage of life. I loved the progression of this relationship being built even after his death..

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