2006 — Most Philosophical 4th Grader in America:

Steve Rathje, Oregon

Hope will keep your fears behind you

To move forward, hope will keep your fears behind you. I think fear is like running against the wind. It holds you back and slows you down.

History has many examples of the power of fear. Fear that the world was flat kept people from exploring the world. Fear of witches caused people to do terrible things. Fear of bad people with armies allowed good people to watch silently as millions were killed. Fear of terrorists makes us afraid to travel.

We have many fears, such as the fear of bullies, the fear of speaking out against something we think is wrong, the fear of trying something new, and the fear of failing. Each of these fears keeps us from doing the things we want to do.
I think hope is like running with the wind at your back. It moves you forward and keeps fear behind you.

Hope is more powerful than fear. Hope causes us to explore the unknown. Hope gives us the courage to stand up to bad people. Hope encourages us to speak out against things that are wrong. Hope helps us to stand up to bullies. Hope helps us to try new things.

History proves over and over that fear may stop us for awhile, but hope always motivates us to move forward again. Hope gives us the power we need to overcome our fear.

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