This I Believe

Ely, Van Horn


  • Van Horn Ely, Jr., explains his belief in the goodness of people and his efforts, based on the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments, to be open and honest in all of his interactions with other people.
This object is in collection Subject Temporal Permanent URL
Component ID:
To Cite:
TARC Citation Guide    EndNote
Detailed Rights
view transcript only

And now, This I Believe, the living philosophies of thoughtful men and women, presented in the hope they may strengthen your beliefs so that your life may be richer, fuller, happier. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Mr. Van Horn Ely, Jr., is a Philadelphia businessman. He was board in Buffalo, New York, and moved to Philadelphia nearly forty years ago. After graduating from Princeton University he started his career in the banking business. Later he became affiliated with the Philadelphia Suburban Water Company. He has been with them for the past twenty-two years and is now the vice president of that company. He lives with his wife and two children in Paoli, Pennsylvania. Here now the creed of Van Horn Ely, Jr.
The greatest source of unending pleasure is all around me in the shape of my fellow human beings. Everything I do is the result of some form of contact or activity with others like myself. I believe that the way to get the most happiness out of my everyday life is to approach others with the belief that they are happy individuals who welcome their contact with me, and who sincerely want to be pleasant and honest with me. I believe that the natural impulse of most individuals is one of fellowship and kindred spirit. I have found that the more conscious I am of this kindred spirit between men, the more readily I plunge into the mainstream of life.
The knowledge and inspiration that I have gained by feeling this way have had a far-reaching effect on my life. More than three thousand years ago, one man who possessed a deep reverence for God and his fellow men, devoted his life to bringing peace and order to his people. He realized that to have law and order among them, he would need some plan or code as a basis. In his humility, this man, a young Hebrew called Moses, appealed to the almighty for assistance. God rewarded his trust and gave him the Ten Commandments on two tablets of stone. These have been the guide for millions of people down through the ages, to keep each and every one of us reminded of his obligation to his fellow man and to his creator.
I believe that deep down in everyone is a veiled realization that he is a child of God, and that whether or not he has subscribed to the Ten Commandments and their great philosophy he unconsciously feels the need for their guiding principles: self respect, self improvement, self reliance, and self discipline. He unconsciously realizes, I believe, that “thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” And although this often runs counter to his own selfish interests, he has learned by many a sad lesson that men enjoy the peace given here on Earth in much the same measure as they show interest in the well being of others. Man is born of a group. Without group living, his survival would be difficult, indeed, with few if any opportunity to develop his talents and strive for the pursuit of happiness.
I believe that I personally can do much to shape the future for myself and those around me. It is a breathtaking challenge. In a very real sense, I can help stabilize the world, for everything is in terms of the individual units: the family, community, the country, and the world. And as America goes during the next five or ten years, so probably will go the world.
Human nature has not changed down through the centuries. The same shortcomings of a thousand or more years ago are present today. But also is present the instinctive liking of one individual for another.
And so, I believe that if I approach my problems in my dealings with others, whether they be business or social contacts, with an open mind and heart, I will have a life rich with understanding of others and be tenfold repaid with the trust and love of my fellow man.
That was Mr. Van Horn Ely, Jr., the vice president of the Philadelphia Suburban Water Company. His appreciation of the importance of friendship has brought him joy and satisfaction in his daily living.