Nursery school director Rose Alschuler describes the many essential beliefs she would like to impart to her children and adds that it is important for people to act on their beliefs in order to improve one's political and social life and remove cynicism.
And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Rose H. Alschuler was one of America's pioneers in nursery school education. In 1926 she organized and was staff director of the first public nursery school in Chicago. Since then, she has been responsible for scores of WPA and wartime nursery schools. She is the author of the widely studied handbook for parents, Two to Six, which is now in its tenth printing. She is the mother of five and the grandmother of thirteen. Here now is Mrs. Rose H. Alschuler.
Life is a mirage, and life is an effort. And the fullness of life for every individual depends on the strength and beauty
of his vision and the strength and beauty of his effort. I would have my children know that one lives by truth, but the truth is only relative.
That in this great world, so full of positive impressions, sensations, and experiences, there is only one unchanging truth, and that is the spirituality of the world. This spirituality is evidenced in power--human and superhuman--in the re-creative powers of nature, and the creative powers of man.
I would have my children understand the meaning of inner freedom--freedom from fear, freedom from the outlived traditions of the past, and from the feudal allegiances of the present. An inner freedom, which would enable them to think through every experience, to act and to react freely, and to realize daily living with all the capacity of free spirits.
I would tell them that life must be lived constructively, that love should be the mode of power of action. I would have them know that hatred, envy, malice--evil in any form--is a boomerang and consumes its begetter.
I would have them know that every human being has unrealized and almost unlimited possibilities, which it is his joyous responsibility to fulfill. But I would have each one keep a sense of personal accomplishment balanced by realizing that any individual accomplishment is infinitely small if one thinks in terms of the cosmos--of what is being done, what has been done, and what remains to be done.
In time, I hope they will come to know that talent for living consists in a capacity for adjustment; that happiness and fulfillment consist in realizing life to the fullest at every moment, and in losing oneself through giving one's love and one's power to the
sum of human welfare. Can we teach these things to our children: appreciations of truth and beauty, understanding of inner freedom, the joys of world love and service? Probably not. One can only sense them, and perhaps impart them, through the quality of one's own being.
The words I have just spoken were written more than thirty years ago. They represent for me the core of life as I have felt and tried to live it. But today, I believe something more needs to be added. The pressures and tensions all over the world have mounted at so terrific a pace that everyone who is really alive must feel their impact.
Sitting in York Cathedral in England not long ago, I realized that to meditate is not enough. Each of us must belabor ourselves so that we increase our capacity to cope with these urgent tensions.
In our daily lives, we must earnestly try to replace the distrust and suspicion that are everywhere with trust and mutual confidence. We must remember that the hostilities and aggressions that flare so readily result from our tempo and our way of life, and we must try to meet them with understanding and constructive action.
We must work, too, to replace the cynicism that characterizes so much of our political and social thinking with moral fiber and with faith in the basic decency of others, as well as ourselves.
If all of us would honestly work for mutual trust, and if we would show faith in others, in ourselves, and in the spiritual power that gives meaning to life, we could, I believe, feel more confident than we do about the world we are leaving to our children and grandchildren.
Those were the personal beliefs of Rose H. Alschuler of Chicago.