This I Believe

Margaret Weymouth Jackson - Spencer, Indiana
Broadcast during the 1950s
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I believe in my country. Love for America and faith in her have been a passion all of my life. My parents were of pioneer stock and shared the pioneer’s love for freedom and democracy. “Long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light,” is more than a phrase in a song to me. It is the dearest prayer of my heart. All other human relationships, marriage, family life, friendships, are enriched and ennobled by patriotism. The need for world unity does not diminish my love of country any more than love for humanity diminishes love of family.

I believe in womankind. Nothing hurts me more than to hear a woman disparage other women and, perhaps without intention, thereby, disparage herself. I believe it is the privilege and responsibility of women to protect young children and women all through life, to do much of the world’s work, to adhere as much as possible to spiritual conceptions, and to resist materialism and sensuousness. Most women know this and work always toward a better life for their families. The degradation of woman in modern writing seems to me most deplorable and cannot benefit the race. I believe that most men and women, fortunately, love honor and goodness wherever it may be found. Women must live by principle if humanity is to survive.

I believe in religion. Now and then one finds a person endowed with goodness—just naturally good. But for most of us there is an unending struggle with our own natures. In this struggle, the greatest aid I can have is a strong religious conviction. In overcoming greed, dishonesty, selfishness, unhappiness, I must have faith in God’s goodness and in his love. I don’t understand how anyone can long survive without prayer.

I believe in work, any kind of work. My deepest and most lasting satisfactions and rewards come from work. I like cooking and housework, even scrubbing and cleaning, as well as writing and storekeeping. Whatever work is at hand can be done with honor, even with glory. It’s not true that some work is dull. Only the worker is dull, for imagination and pride can be brought to any task. It seems to me that it is fortunate for most of us that we have to work.
I believe in fun. I love a joke and think nothing healthier than laughter and few things more estimable than cheerfulness. Some of the direst times in my own life have been relieved with mirth. I’m convinced that a good national or international guffaw might lessen some of our fears. Young people aren’t taught sufficiently what fun, children and family life can be. When my small grandsons tell me with gales of laughter their terrible little moron jokes, I am convulsed—not at their wit but at them. And when the family baby wads up her fat hands before her and solemnly practices her 10-month-old trills, and crows with laughter afterwards, my soul is filled with delight, a delight which need never fail us as long as there are children—anybody’s children—in the world.