An Appeal to the Youth


Rochester, N. Y., July, 1861

My Dear Children, Henry and Edson,

I will now write some things which are the opposite of slovenly and careless habits, copied from the same book from which the extract in my former letter was taken: AY 72.1

“The neat, orderly and careful boy has an invariable rule; ‘A place for every thing, and every thing in its place.’ Go into his room at any hour, you will find everything in order. He can go in the dark and lay his hands upon anything that he wants, so that he never runs the risk of setting the house on fire by carrying a light into his bed-room. He never leaves a thing at random where he happens to be using it, but always puts it where it belongs. When he undresses, every article of his clothing is folded and laid together in the order that it will be wanted in the morning, so that he loses no time in hunting for it. He is equally careful of his person. He never considers himself dressed, till he has washed his hands and face, cleaned his teeth, and combed his hair; and he never thinks of setting down to the table with dirty hands. He learns to keep his clothes neat and clean. He never forgets to use the scraper at the door, to remove the mud from his feet, and he makes it an invariable rule never to pass a mat without wiping his shoes. He never says, like the sloven, ‘I didn't think,’ to excuse himself. He would consider it unpardonable in him not to think; for what is the ability of thinking worth, if it never comes when it is wanted. The neat, orderly boy makes himself agreeable to his mother, or guardian, and friends, who are always glad to see him coming home. And home is a delightful place to him, because he meets with smiles and pleasant words. But the sloven exposes himself to sour looks and chiding, by his dirty habits; and he finds home a disagreeable place, because he makes it so.” AY 72.2

We want you, dear boys, to be patterns of neatness and order. Willie looks to you for example. He has great confidence that you do everything about right. Any wrong, careless habits in you, would be learning your youngest brother lessons which would make him unhappy, and cause us much inconvenience and grief. We are absent from you much, and you should feel that a responsibility rests upon you, my dear boys, to strictly guard yourselves from falling into wrong habits, and also save your brother Willie from doing wrong. A noble example before him, will do much to influence him to preserve correct habits. We commit you to God, earnestly praying that his angels may guard you all three, and incline your hearts to love him. AY 73.1

Your affectionate Mother.