This I Believe

Nelson, Edith L.

  • Edith Nelson talks about learning the Golden rule early in life, the impact teaching has had on her life and the importance of kindness, friends and families when struggling through adversity.
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. For the past twenty-seven years, Edith L. Nelson has been a teacher. How good a teacher is indicated by her being chosen to visit schools, hospitals and factories all over England, as a goodwill ambassador from the United States. This is what Edith Nelson believes.
As the years go by, I realize more fully that what I believe today has been fashioned gradually out of the experiences of a lifetime. Some factors beyond my control, of course, have sent me along certain
roads of experience, but how I have gone is my responsibility. I believe that many little things have been strongly directive guideposts. One of the earliest, I see vividly: my mother, sitting with me in a certain big chair every Sunday morning, teaching me the Golden Text, to repeat it and to understand its meaning and application according to my youthful experience. No sermon, no passage from the Bible, could mean quite so much to me today if the foundation had not been laid in those early Sunday mornings.
Further along, a crossroads: turning to teaching as my chosen career. A tiny little woman pointed the way.
Keen, firm, and disciplined, but with a twinkle in her eye. Understanding, patient, she made me realize that teaching history brought wonderful new horizons and a deep satisfaction in service to others. Teaching it today, in all its broadened aspects of human relations, is a constant challenge, but I believe my boys and girls have taught me far more than I shall ever be able to teach them.
Not long ago, it was my privilege to teach in a foreign land, and to observe ways of life in nine countries. I am convinced that young people are being better prepared than ever to meet their responsibilities of tomorrow.
I have a deeper appreciation of my students, respect for their integrity, fairness, judgement, high ideals. What sometimes disturbs me, I see in a different perspective. With this confidence in youth, my work has become much happier, more satisfying.
I am deeply thankful, especially since an accident some time ago nearly brought me to an abrupt end of the road. It was then I learned the real meaning of family and friends. I believe that without their faith and prayers, I should never have been able to return to my profession. My school principal, replying to a request for leave of absence, wrote, "Remember, we want you back. We need you."
A busy man, taking time to add a personal note to a formal letter. A little thing to do, yes, but a big thing. I was needed; I wasn't just a cog in a machine.
Along the road ahead, there lie undoubtedly both pleasant and unpleasant experiences. Sometimes, like many other people in the world of today, I am very fearful. But history teaches me that in every age and country, there have always been causes for alarm. It also teaches that there is a continuity of progress throughout the centuries. Nations may fall, but the culture of the people lives on. There is a continuity of goodness in human hearts,
and a blessed continuity in the love of God. With all my fears along the way, I do not doubt the final outcome, for I believe with all my heart and soul in the compassion of God and of man, and in the enduring goodness of a country whose ideal is "In God We Trust."
That was Edith L. Nelson, a Utica, New York school teacher. Realizing that no matter how good we are in our own fields, we are likely to become somewhat narrow if we do nothing else, Miss Nelson has spent her summers in jobs ranging from food-checker in a large restaurant to assistant meteorologist for the U. S. Weather Bureau.