This I Believe

Ralph, K. James

  • Jim Ralph describes his belief in the simple virtues he learned as a boy, and which have sustained him through the loss of a leg in WWI, supported his happy marriage, and become reaffirmed through his work with the Lakemont Academy preparatory school for boys.
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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. K. James Ralph is comptroller of the New Jersey Bell Telephone Company. He began his career with the Bell system soon after the First World War. He had served with the Army Engineers in France. A great part of his time and energy goes into work on behalf of the Lakemont Academy, a preparatory school for boys, which he serves as chairman of the board of trustees. Here is Jim Ralph's creed.
I grew up among the hills of Connecticut, the son of modest, wholesome, reverent parents. There
I lived close to nature and the realities of life, where true sense of values is brought into fine, clear focus. I was exposed at home and the field to the wonders of God's blessings that abound for him who would but strive for them.
Tempered by the mischief and rebellion of normal, vigorous childhood, I emerged a youth with reasonably high ideals that carried me on through World War I--ideals that despite the loss in France of one good leg, I could still hold onto. In truth, I'm inclined to count that rather as a gain. Without that bit of handicap to overcome, I doubt if I could have had the same steadfastness of purpose and tolerant determination to surmount all obstacles.
That which I learned of simple virtues in my formative years, I put to the test in adult life. I've observed how essential they are in all relationships with others. This has been true in our own happy marriage and family life. I've found the same in my business affairs and in my army experience.
This has been particularly demonstrated in my associations at Lakemont Academy. There, with its background history and tradition of 111 years, I find repeated evidence of how vital simple virtues are in the scheme of things. This was so, not only in the early founding of the school but in the meeting of varied challenges down through the years.
It applies no less there today in the natural environment of its far-flung setting above Lake Seneca,
where simple virtues provide the bedrock on which to build character and responsibility and equip young men for well-rounded living.
I believe that simple virtues are today as vital as ever they have been in all human relationships. Stemming from natural impulses and reactions that stimulate and inspire the vast majority among all groups, simple virtues provide the sole, firm foundation for common understanding and mutual trust. I believe also that without the accumulation of individual efforts--unified and strengthened by adherence to the principles of simple virtues--solution of mankind's problems is hopeless, indeed. Conversely, where simple virtues are the primary motivating force, no opposition can, in the end, prevail.
While nothing is attained without leadership, it is a peoples' bent that controls the ultimate and winning course. The end that is gained turns on the heart that all--leaders and the led, alike--have had. The hardest part is to know how or when or where each one may lend his aid to stem a tide or to push on toward a sought-for goal. Yet, if each one just steps aside to wait until some other may unleash the master stroke to win the day, the group's morale cannot endure.
Though progress may be slow and the way quite dim, all great gains evolve from small things. Once on the move, each soul is led, and in turn leads in small or large measure, until--sped on by common trust and confidence--unity takes shape, and self defense from any threat will grow stronger and, in the end,
hold the victory.
Yes, whether viewed from the priceless heritage of the past, the realistic fullness of the present, or the challenging prospects of the future, the secret in all human relationships is conduct in keeping with the tenets of simple virtues, all in fitting balance with reality. This I do, indeed, believe
That was K. James Ralph, a New Jersey telephone company executive, with a deep-rooted devotion to youth.