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. Edina Campbell-Dover is director of the Hickox Secretarial School in Boston, the oldest school of its kind in the United States. Several years ago, struck by the words of Jesus, “I was in prison and ye visited me not,” she decided to start a regular correspondence program with imprisoned men who had lost contact with the outside world. By now, through her efforts, and with the cooperation of prison officials, many inmates are receiving regular letters, books and cigarettes. This is Edina Campbell-Dover’s creed.
Some years ago, I met a man who was the head of a large concern, and he incorporated into his work an unusual practice: at fairly regular intervals, he would collect a sizeable number of his selling staff and he, himself, would conduct short inspirational meetings based, oddly enough, on the teachings of Jesus. This man had another oddity: he tried to help just about everybody with whom he spoke. I spent only a brief half-hour with him, yet I feel that my life was greatly influenced by that meeting. He literally went about doing good. Yet entirely by his own efforts he became immensely wealthy, which indicated to me that helping others, especially those less fortunate, as well as introducing religion into business, is not only righteous, it is smart. I therefore believe the
emphasis in business should be not on selling willy-nilly, but on protecting the public by better service and better goods, whether one sells insurance, automobiles, or, as I do, education.
Before the FEPC was law, the question arose of admitting Negroes to my school. This involved the risk of antagonizing other students, some of whom were Southerners. As usual, we submitted the problem to the acid test, “What would Jesus have us do?” The conviction arrived at was so clear that we felt it would be presumptuous even to question the outcome. From that day on, anyone who could pass the educational standards, regardless of color, was welcome. A small percentage of Negroes have come through the years, but never by word or sign has any objection been made by any member of our student body.
I believe that not only on Sunday but on every day in the week I should worship God and invoke His help in all my problems, and I do not believe that I should wait until catastrophe strikes, for I feel that at such times I pray not necessarily because I have faith but because I am scared. A great Rabbi once said, “There are two ways to accomplish any worthwhile objective: the natural and the miraculous. The natural way is with God’s help; the miraculous way is to do it alone.” This is something apart from the all-inclusive daily prayer. It is the unemotional pinpointing of God’s love and power to specific needs.
Indeed I believe that there is an urge within each of us for the satisfying ethical and spiritual
values that are bound up in such a program of life. And I believe that if I were to work merely for material profit, I would be badly shortchanged. As John Marquand’s hero in the play, Point of No Return, so wistfully puts it: “I wish there were something more at the end than an annuity and a station wagon.” This challenge, “What would Jesus have me do,” is neither pharisaical nor apologetic. It is not maudlin or churchy, and I do not hear voices or see visions. It is a workable, uncomplicated formula for increasing profits ethically, spiritually, and in dollars and cents. This I believe.
That was Edina Campbell-Dover, who is director of the Hickox Secretarial School in Boston, and the author of several business school textbooks.