This I Believe

Gruenberg, Sidonie Matsner


  • Sidonie Gruenberg describes her belief in the importance of both family life and productive occupation outside the home, and recounts how she balanced those beliefs in her own life. NOTE: This version has been abbreviated to include an advertisement after the essay. Contains advertisement for a book containing 100 "This I Believe" essays. Duplicate of the essay, complete and without the advertisement, ... read more
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Mrs. Sidonie M. Gruenberg is an authority in the field of parent education. The author of many books, her latest was written in collaboration with her daughter entitled The Many Lives of Modern Woman. The creed which Mrs. Gruenberg expresses is a reflection of her experienced and fruitful life.
In spite of all the changes that have taken place during my own seventy-one years, I believe that family living is basic to human living in any society. I believe that the continuous sense of belonging and the sharing and caring unique in family life, are essential to the development and happiness of each individual.
When I was a young woman, I was determined to avoid that leftover, useless, unneeded feeling that so many mothers seem to have after their children grow up. I saw too many woman who had led full, useful lives becoming fussy and discontented and--for fear of being superfluous now that they were no longer full time mothers--clinging desperately to their children. I had only the vaguest picture of what I did want to be or what I did want to do. I knew only that I did not want to become that kind of frustrated and possessive woman. I knew, further, that it was possible to be a warm, loving, devoted mother, and still be a productive person in the outside world.
My own mother, left a widow with six children, with no training except in the homemaking arts, had become a successful businesswoman. Now I never planned to do through choice what my mother had done through necessity. But I felt that I should be able to continue developing as a person and, at the same time, to be the best wife and mother I was capable of being.
The person who has influenced me most in holding fast to this conviction has been my husband. Years ago, just before our fourth child was born, my mother, then retired, came to live with us. It was our plan to have a share in the household responsibilities and so free me a few hours each day to continue working with the Child Study Association, then a small informal group of people interested in all the various problems of family living.
Shortly after our youngest child was born, my mother had a heart attack. At this point, of course, I thought that the only thing to do was to give up my outside interests. My husband, however, who has as much vision for the future as he has wisdom of the past, said to me--and I have never forgotten his words: "This is an emergency. We must meet it with emergency measures, not think of it as our permanent way of living." We did just that. We dipped into our meager savings to get some household help and, while this period was not easy for me, I have been forever grateful to my husband for keeping me from shutting the door to the outside world behind me.
At the time, I never dreamed that the little Child Study Group should grow into a large, national organization, nor that I would be,
for more than twenty-five years, its director. I lived each stage of life as it came along, trying to do what seemed best at the time, enjoying our children, and yet constantly aware of the future.
That was Mrs. Sidonie M. Gruenberg, a native of Vienna, now a resident of New York.
Just out, a book This I Believe containing a hundred of the best scripts with foreword by Edward R. Murrow is on sale at all bookstores now. This I Believe, as you know, is a regular feature of this station. Its ever-growing audience, the deeply felt letters it has brought, have been very gratifying. In fact it's today the most widely listened to radio program in the world. Thousands have asked for a book in which the beliefs could be read and re-read, and here it is, a hundred of the best published by Simon & Schuster. Of course, you'll want this book, to own and to give. See it at your bookstore now.