First: Be true--be genuine. No education is worth anything that does not include this. A man had better not know how to read--he had better never learn a letter of the alphabet, and be true and genuine in intention and in action, rather than to be learned in all sciences and in all languages, to be at the same time false in heart and counterfeit in life. Above all things, teach the boys that truth is more than riches, more than culture, more than earthly power or position. Second: Be unselfish, to care for the feelings and comforts of others. To be polite. To be just in all dealings with others. To be generous, noble, and manly. This will include a genuine reverence for the aged, and things sacred. Third: Be self-reliant and self-helpful, even from early childhood. To be industrious always, and self-supporting at the earliest proper age. Teach them that all honest work is honorable, and that an idle, useless life of dependence on others is disgraceful. When a boy has learned these three things, when he has made these ideas a part of his being--however young he may be, however poor, or however rich--he has learned some of the most important things he ought to know when he becomes a man. With these three properly mastered and a life devoted to Christ, it will be easy to find all the rest.
...Advice to Boys...
Whatever you are, be brave, boys!
The liar’s a coward and slave, boys;
Though clever at ruses,
And sharp at excuses,
He’s a sneaking and pitiful knave, boys.
Whatever you are, be frank, boys;
’Tis better than money and rank, boys;
Still cleave to the right;
Be lovers of light;
Be open, aboveboard, and frank, boys.
Whatever you are, be kind, boys;
Be gentle in manner and mind, boys.
The man gentle in mein,
Words, and temper, I ween
Is the gentleman truly refined, boys.
But whatever you are, be true, boys;
Be visible through and through, boys.
Leave to others the shamming,
The "greening," and "cramming;"
In fun and in earnest be true, boys.