This I Believe

Rothschild, Walter N.


  • Walter Rothschild, President of Abraham & Straus, describes his belief in the need to allow human beings to develop their unique potential, the necessity of helping others, the importance of discipline, and the need to guide rather than dominate chidren; finally, he describes the contentment he derives from sailing at sea.
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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. Walter Rothschild is president of one of the country's largest department stores--Abraham & Strauss in Brooklyn, New York. He is known for his devotion to good causes. He has been a fundraising leader in support of many, including the Red Cross, the Girl Scouts, the National War Fund for Foreign Relief, Jewish Philanthropies, and various colleges. Here now is Walter Rothschild.
I believe in the integrity of the human being and in encouraging him to develop his own pattern of life, because only in so doing can humanity preserve itself from the constant threat posed by those who would destroy it in the furtherance of their own ambitions. I believe that immortality is the afterglow of the relationships with our fellow men, and that we must be constantly aware of the many opportunities for helpfulness that life affords us.
One passes this way but once, and the neglect of the right step precludes finding the same opportunity later. If one is ready to listen to the problems of others, there is little time to feel one’s own pulse. I believe that understanding and
tolerance among the peoples of this Earth can come only to the extent that we cultivate them toward our fellow men within our own limited spheres. And since the child is father of the man, we must begin with children, and develop in them a philosophy which will enable them to make sound decisions about their personal problems and their relations with others.
Discipline is an essential part of upbringing, because those who lack it will be unable to face the inevitable harsh lessons of life. Young people, nonetheless, thrive on precept and guidance, not on parental domination; the latter serves only to develop unhappy qualities in their later years. I believe in love as an incentive and as a healing force, but I do
not believe in that kind of self-adulation which is born of the desire to mirror one’s own image.
The companionship of the sea brings me contentment. There is nothing to compare to the swelling of a sail in response to the breeze, to smooth away the problems of the day, or to the hour of serenity in port after a hard day’s run, watching the reflections of the setting sun on the windows ashore. Life aboard ship presents its own set of living problems. There must be give and take and appreciation of our fellows. We learn that if existence is to be bearable, neatness and orderliness are vital—not only for comfort, but to meet the unexpected conditions that can arise so suddenly afloat, and
in life. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to read Rachel Carson’s The Sea Around Us or Under the Sea Wind know that beneath the sea’s bordering the Earth’s land masses, there is a world all its own. Dealing with the problems of that special world, if only sailing atop its surface, develops confidence and initiative.
I believe that the many varied manifestations of nature are calculated to develop humility in mankind, which can only harness its forces temporarily and is completely subject to its winds. Therefore, it behooves me to respect nature and to make every effort to bring my life in tune with its forces.
There the beliefs of Walter Rothschild, one of New York's busiest philanthropists and president of Abraham & Strauss.