This I Believe

Joy, C. Turner (Charles Turner)

  • Charles Turner, 37th Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, compares life to a navigation in that everyone begins life in a specific spot and situation and the travels toward an unkown destination, using what ever tools we have acquired in life to give direction; from this he adds that it is important to keep your awareness in the present and do the task at hand. This ... read more
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Vice Admiral Charles Turner Joy is the 37th Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. He is particularly well-known for his part in the Korean campaign. This is Vice Admiral Joy's creed.
I would be among the last to take it on myself to summarize the meaning of life or to tell anyone else what life should mean to him. Back in the days when I was a midshipman at the Naval Academy, I am sure that I would have tackled such an assignment without hesitation and would have been quite certain about my conclusions.
Now that I am old enough to be superintendent, I am neither plagued nor blessed by any such certainty. At my age, I find I am more likely to reply to a question by asking another question, instead of making an assertion. Only the very young can afford to be absolutely right. For myself, I am glad to have reached an age when I can afford to say, 'I don't know."
Because I have followed the sea, perhaps it is natural for me to think of life, in one way, as a problem in navigation. We all start from an arbitrary point of departure determined by the accident of our birth, and proceed to an unknown destination determined by time, circumstance, and--who can say how much--by the individual himself.
During the voyage, each of us conducts a private search for a personal North Star to steer by. We may find it in teachings at our mother's knee, in words spoken in the house of God, in the written word of some great man, or in the living example of some close friend. Some of us never find it, but the search goes on. All of our lives, we are culling and compiling the age to navigation, beacons of precept, and show warnings of example.
In my own search for true north, I long ago found this notice to mariners in the works of Carlisle. Carlisle wrote, and I quote, "Our grand business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand."
The only time I really own is the present--right now, this minute, this hour, this day. I try to remember that the most important job in the world is the job I have to do today. In any event, it is the only job I can do anything about right now. This is not to say that there should not be critical evaluation of the past and intelligent planning for the future.
But how much "never to be recaptured time" is spent in bemoaning a past, that is gone, and bewailing a future that never happened? The best guarantee of a pleasant past and a bright future lies, I think, in a well-spent present. I believe if you take care of the present,
the future will take care of itself.
Unfortunately, the reverse often happens. Parents become so preoccupied in planning the futures of their children that they neglect a great many of their real, present needs. A baseball team gets so busy counting the World Series money that it loses a pennant. A Navy captain works so hard at winning future battles as an admiral in command of a fleet that he lets his ship run aground. A nation works itself into such a state of nervous prostration in anticipation of a war that it defeats itself before a shot is fired. A man becomes so busy talking about life that there is little time left for life itself.
And that seems like a very good place for me to stop.
That was Vice Admiral Charles Turner Joy, who has served his country as Naval officer, negotiator, and educator.
This I Believe is now a Columbia LP record album. Two records, with two exciting new ideas, commentary by Edward R. Murrow. First, the beliefs of ten living Americans. Second, the beliefs of ten immortals, including Socrates, Lincoln, Queen Victoria, Will Rogers, Confucius and Ghandi, written by their most famous biographers, spoken by their best portrayers, Helen Hayes, Katharine Cornell, Raymond Massey, Jose Ferrer, and others. See the This I Believe LP album at your record dealer today.