Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)

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Lt 33, 1877

White, Mary

NP

November 4, 1877

Previously unpublished.

Dear Mary:

I do not wish Addie and May to be released from home duties. They can wash the dishes and be useful if there is time, and if they will be spry and persevering they can be quite helpful. I want you, Mary, to watch carefully these children. I have fears that they will not be modest and reserved as they should. Little girls of their age are generally quite bold and saucy. Now I do not want these children to become boisterous and wild, talkative and disrespectful. Now is the time for them to cultivate modest reserve. They should not be allowed to chat continually, but restrain this inclination. I do not want them to feel that they can do what other girls do. 3LtMs, Lt 33, 1877, par. 1

My manner of educating and training children is different from most mothers. I think idleness is productive of great evils. Children can just as well employ their time in being useful as to devote it to play. They should have some time and opportunity to play, but this should be after their work is done. Duty first, play afterwards. 3LtMs, Lt 33, 1877, par. 2

I trust to your judgment to devise plans of work for the children. They can wash the dishes and bring in the wood and such things. And I do not want the children to consider it a hard tax to work, for this is what I shall teach them to become acquainted with—all kinds of employment. It would be a great mistake in me to neglect to teach them how to work. I do not want our children should become vain and proud. I want them to love to be clean and neat in their apparel, but not gaudy and fanciful. We should feel it a sin to let them go without lifting their little burdens according to their strength. I want them to feel happy in their labor, happy in their studies, and happy in their play. 3LtMs, Lt 33, 1877, par. 3

If my little girls have lovely tempers, if they are kind and respectful to others and are doing what they can to improve every day, they will be far happier than for them to be permitted to have nothing to do. I hope my little girls will cultivate gentleness, meekness, and love. This will be a blessing to them everywhere. 3LtMs, Lt 33, 1877, par. 4

I must close. 3LtMs, Lt 33, 1877, par. 5

Mother.