This I Believe

Whitney, Madge


  • Madge Whitney describes how children's social work brings purpose to her life.
This object is in collection Subject Temporal Permanent URL
Component ID:
To Cite:
TARC Citation Guide    EndNote
Detailed Rights
view transcript only

And now, This I Believe. A series of living philosophies presented in the hope they may help to strengthen and enrich your life. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Mrs. Madge Whitney is a social worker. For more than twenty years she has worked for the Children’s Aid Society of West Texas. She grew up on a cattle ranch I Colorado and after graduating from college she taught school for three years. Mrs. Whitney now lives in Wichita Falls, Texas. Here is her creed.
I may say, “be honest, clean, kind, and try to think first of the other person.” This sounds easy, but it is really quite difficult to practice at all times. The Great Teacher gave us a new Commandment, in simple language, which could we but live by it, would solve all moral and spiritual problems. I believe, then, it is my duty to try to live by this rule. Imagination and tolerance should aid me to see the other person’s viewpoint, and this would help build a better understanding, thus bringing more logical judgment in regard to their problem.
I believe I cannot find any real happiness built upon the unhappiness of others. I can find much happiness out of simple pleasures.
I like the smell of baking bread; the smell of the approaching shower; of the petunia bed after the rain; the glowing sunset; the blue haze in the lowlands as you top a hill and see over; the glitter of the moon on the rolling surf; the Redbird’s call; the loving glance of a friend’s eye as you meet; and so many other everyday incidents that money cannot buy.
When tragedy dealt me a great blow, the only thing to do was to carry on with what was left me. I believe congenial, interesting, hard work is the best way to live through sorrow and disappointment. I learned, then, that outside things did not matter but just cluttered up my life, that my inner life must have the satisfaction that comes from doing some worthwhile work.
Any work which helps mold and build youth for the coming generation will, I believe, bring this inner satisfaction. Poet John Maysfield once wrote:
And he who gives a child a treat
Makes joy bells ring in heaven’s street
And he who gives a child a home
Builds palaces in Kingdom come
This I believe to be the very essence of all social work.
Soon after the death of my husband, I became associated with an organization which strives to aid any child in need or distress. Having no children of my own, this type of work has been a great solace to me through the years. There’s nothing in the world to me as interesting, as charming, and as original as a young child. Nothing can be as important as helping children develop into happy and useful citizens, and to have had a small part in such an enterprise gives me a feeling of pleasure. There was little Bill with a clubfoot who had to go away for surgery. I sent him some little cars. Afterward, I called on him. The first thing he said to me was, “Miss Whitney, did you send me those little cars and things, or did the Welfare?” So it is not what you give, but how much of you goes with it that counts. I hope and plan to continue to be a mother by proxy.
I believe I am a product of all that has gone before. I should cherish this heritage and also be interested in the present history in the making. I believe if I have an abiding faith, and can keep my sense of humor alive so that I can take my troubles with a pinch of salt, that life can be a very pleasant experience.
That was Mrs. Madge Whitney of Wichita Falls, Texas. Though over sixty, she insists on continuing a life full of activity, dedicated principally to underprivileged children.