United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865; Bruen, Luther Barnett--Correspondence


4 pages


Nokesville, VA March 24/64 My Dear Daughter: Since your mother writes me that you have received my last long letter and are pleased with it, I have set down to write you another. I shall love to write, as long as I find that you try to follow the advice I give you. It is all intended to make you happier and better, but if it does you no good because you do not try to do as I advise, I shall become discouraged and stop writing. I hope you will try to remember this. I wish to say something more to you about obedience, because the first thing you have to learn is to be obedient, promptly and cheerfully obedient. If you try to remember why it is that you so often fail to do what you are told, I dare say you will oftener find that your disobedience has been caused by forgetfulness than willfulness. Hence you should, when you are sent to do anything, first listen attentively to what you are told and endeavor to fix it in your mind so as not to forget it, and then go and do it immediately, without stopping to play or do anything else. If you make this a rule, I am quite certain you will give mother very little to complain of. But if you do not stop to listen and fully understand what you are expected to do, before you go to do it, you will be pretty certain to forget what you were sent to do and not do it at all, or do it wrong. If while mother is waiting for you to bring her something, you have stopped to play till you have forgotten all about it, or have listened so carefully that you do not know what you were sent for, and take her something she does not want to use, you must expect to be scolded, and you know well enough how unpleasant it is to feel that you have worried and displeased her by your thoughtlessness and disobedience. Now, I want you to say to yourself: "I will not disobey mother a single time for a whole week", and tell her of the resolution you have formed, so that she can remind you when in danger of forgetting it. I have no doubt but that you will be able to say after you have earnestly tried to keep such a resolution for a week, that you can say it was the happiest week of your life. Then try it for another week, and then for another, and another, and it will not be long before you will find it just as easy to obey as not, and oh, how much pleasanter! I hope mother will be able to write me even after you receive this, that you have adopted such a resolution and are trying your best to keep it. You are our oldest child and you should be our best. Because you are older we expect more of you than we do of Frank and Robbie. On that account you should strive to keep them from quarreling by never quarrelling with them yourself. Treat them with invariable kindness and good-humor and there will not be much quarrelling in our little household. You may be required to yield to them oftener than you like, but mother will keep that about right now, and in a year or two when the boys and you are that much older, you will all get along very pleasantly, I hope. It is very pleasant to see a little flock of brothers and sisters playing kindly and good-humoredly together, but few things are more unpleasant, especially to the father and mother, than to see them quarrelling and fighting. You may be sure you will be much happier through life, if you learn early to keep your temper. It is impossible not to get angry sometimes, but you must learn not to show it. You will regain your good humor and forget your anger all the sooner, if you have not allowed yourself to show it by striking your brothers or playmates, calling them names, or making ugly faces at them. Remember that it takes two persons to quarrel, and if you are careful never to be one, you will get along very smoothly and happily, and those who have tried to make you angry will become ashamed of themselves and learn to let you alone. This rule you should remember at school and try always to be kind and good-humored towards your playmates. Oblige them all when opportunity of- but avoid the quarrelsome ones as much as you can and choose your companions from those who are not. You will then get along pleasantly if you are studious and obedient to your teacher, also, for she stands in the place of your mother to you while you are in school. This letter is quite long enough for now, so I must just say good bye, and stop. Your Loving Father



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