Tuesday, October 4, 2011

a bit of lit: elizabeth jackson to her son

Still reading Women's Letters: America from the Revolutionary War to the Present, edited by Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J Adler. Still reading it very slowly.

Another good mother-to-son letter. Another letter to a to-be president. Elizabeth Jackson wrote this to her son, Andrew, when he was fourteen. She died the year she wrote this.


If I should not see you again I wish you to remember and treasure up some things I already said to you: in this world you will have to make your own way. To do that you must have friends. You can make friends by being honest, and you can keep them by being steadfast. You must keep in mind that friends worth having will in the long run expect as much from you as they give to you.


In personal conduct always be polite, but never obsequious. No one will respect you more than you esteem yourself. Avoid quarrels as long as you can without yielding to imposition.


Never wound the feelings of others. If ever you have to vindicate your feelings or defend your honor, do it calmly. If angry at first, wait till your wrath cools before you proceed.