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My name is Kingsley Andersen and I’m going to share with you my credo.
For those of you who don’t know what a credo is, the word comes from the Latin for “I believe,” and is a commitment to a listing the rules that guides one’s life, usually in written form. The first three points of my credo are as follows:
Be strong enough to survive the storm; be strong enough then to help another through the storm; and, after the storm, be of use. This credo is based upon physical presence in the moment, especially in any emergency that might happen within that present moment—say, an earthquake. This would be “the storm.” (When you examine the credo, however, you see the possible application in any calmer moment.)
The first point, “be strong enough to survive the storm,” refers to the paradox of being alone, yet never alone. If an earthquake were to strike right now, you would be alone in the surviving those first thirty seconds. This would depend on what shape you are in both physically and spiritually: on your wits, it would depend on how quickly you move, it would depend on your remembering the lessons, it would depend on luck. The very same applies to me and every other person who together shares this room.
The second credo point, “be strong enough then to carry another through the storm”: you have a partner, you have the instructions to look out for your partner, to know if your partner is here through the day. If you aid your partner, and your partner aids you, that is one less person that I may need to care for as I attempt to evacuate everyone to safety.
The third credo point, “afterwards be of use,” applies to easing everyone through the aftermath. Have some use: be able to stop bleeding, be able to recognize shock and to help your partner avoid it, be able to hold a patient’s hand through pain, be capable of running a message physically from one end of the campus to another. Some “real world” use. Then you are welcome member of the team—perhaps a crucial member.
These are the first three credo points of Camp Andersen. May you never understand what they mean, but, in the event of a storm, may they carry you through to your loved ones.
NOTES and COMMENTARY:
I train my students in the AVID program’s “Think On Your Feet” method of standing up and delivering and often impromptu oration of two minutes with minimal verbal statics or pauses.
I used Apple’s voice-to-text feature to speak the presentation, unscripted, from memory.
This “leadership by example” of statement of credo is a slightly polished version of what I deliver in front of English classes. A brisk reading can be done in two minutes and ten seconds.
No, this does not belong to Baz Luhrmann, despite the egregious misattribution. That he put it to song and included it in his frenetic Romeo and Juliet is probably true–I’ve not seen it–but the essay belongs to Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune.