Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2

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Lt 33, 1875

Children

On the cars between Ogden and Sacramento

September 22, 1875

Portions of this letter are published in 11MR 134-135.

Dear Children:

We have had a trying day today. We are on the plains and the whole surface of the ground is nearly as white as snow encrusted with alkali. We have been on the road since Sunday morning at two o’clock—five days and four nights. Everything has thus far been very favorable. 2LtMs, Lt 33, 1875, par. 1

We have been until today remarkably free from dust. It has been cool and very pleasant. We have rested some and written considerable, this with the care of our children, Addie and May, has taxed me considerable. Not that the children have been unusual and unmanageable. They are good children. They are universally cheerful and happy and willing to obey our expressed wishes cheerfully. This has lightened my burden of care wonderfully. Were these children as unruly and boisterous as many children in this car, I should be indeed worn out before this time, but their innocent ways and happy laugh are contagious. We cannot be otherwise than cheerful. 2LtMs, Lt 33, 1875, par. 2

On this train, in this car, are many wealthy families traveling with their children. One family, residents of Oakland, California, have four children, bold, quarrelsome, impolite, and generally disagreeable. The mother seems hurt and worried with the ill manners and fretfulness of her children. She wants them to behave, but much of her time she has no ears or eyes for her children. She is thoroughly absorbed in novel reading. She pays no heed to her children until the noise becomes so loud that all in the car are seriously annoyed; then reluctantly she closes her magazine or book and with feeble efforts tries to restore order. 2LtMs, Lt 33, 1875, par. 3

This lady has several times spoken of the contrast between her children and our well-behaved little girls. This lady has consulted me in regard to the management of her children. Said she, “Mrs. White, there must be a charm in your management of children which I fail to possess. Such constant cheerfulness, kindness, and evenness of disposition is a continual marvel to me. Please give me information of your plan in bringing up children [so] that they will develop amiable dispositions. I want my children right. They worry me most out of my senses.” 2LtMs, Lt 33, 1875, par. 4

I have had several talks with this mother, and I have been astonished to learn what gross ignorance prevails in regard to the education and discipline of the young. This mother knew verily nothing in regard to the physical, mental, and moral training of her little ones. I sought very carefully to show this mother the necessity of making the most of her precious time to study the different temperaments of her children, for this is the duty of every mother, and the importance of the mind of the mother being clear, unstimulated with fictitious reading. Romance will disqualify the mother to deal with common things in every day life, and will confuse her perception that she will not have power of thought, good judgment and wisdom to properly mold the developing minds of her children. 2LtMs, Lt 33, 1875, par. 5

God would have us teach the children the precious lessons of love, to cherish, cultivate, and make flourishing the precious plant of love. Knowledge is essential, but love is much more so in this present life, for the happiness of the children and those who are connected with them, and for their future happiness. Make your children feel that their being good and doing good is essential for their happiness in this life and the future life. Our Saviour's character upon earth was given us as an example, and the most prominent feature of that character was His life of love, of doing good. 2LtMs, Lt 33, 1875, par. 6