June 15, 2015

A Legacy of Guiding Principles

Tonight, my husband shared this letter with the family. My sister-in-law, Beatrice, had recently found this and mailed it to my husband. These were no idle words. From all I have heard and read about Edward Mowbray Tuttle, he was a man that lived by these guiding principles. Edward passed these principles on to his children, through his example. This counsel is as true and vital today as it was when written in 1918.

The picture above is Edward M. Tuttle and his oldest child, my mother-in-law about June 1924.

An excerpt from my husband's grandfather, Edward Mowbray Tuttle's, last Letter to Girls and Boys in the Cornell Rural School Leaflet:

"Will you let me leave a last message with you? Will you think about it and try to carry it out for the sake of our friendship and for the sake of the men and women you are to be so soon? We have talked of many of these things before, but I want to say them again with all the earnestness I have. There are many kinds of people in the world, but, on the whole, they tend to fall into opposite groups.  There are the true and the false; the pure and the vile; the brave and the cowardly; the strong and the weak; the generous and the selfish; the kind and the cruel; the cheerful and the grumbling; the workers and the shirkers; the lovers and the haters. Will you try every day to build your lives so that they will follow the first of each of these opposite qualities?

          Be true:  to yourself, to the best you know, to right, to fair dealing, to your word of honor, to your friends and associates, to your government; play the game of life squarely; the reason there is war is because some people won’t play fair.          

          Be pure:  clean of body; clean of speech; clean of thought; clean of deed.

           Be brave:  do not shirk the hard things; make yourselves face the tasks you dread, and do them well; stand for the things you believe in, without flinching.          

          Be strong:  not strong to do harm to others, but strong to help others; strong to stand on your own feet and win your own way on the merits of your work.          

          Be generous:  try to think of others before yourself; try to see their point of view; be glad when others succeed, do not grow jealous and criticize them; remember that each person has a right to his own life and that even though it may not be like yours, it may be just as good or better; learn that it is indeed better to give than to receive.  

           Be kind:  everyone makes mistakes and does wrong sometimes; but all want to do better when they see the way; kicks will not help, but friendship that is gentle and tender and understanding never fails.           

           Be cheerful:  smile and keep sweet; learn to say a word of praise and encouragement whenever you can do so honestly; we are all hungry to hear others say we have done well; it makes us try harder all the time; we are inspired by one who smiles on life even when things are hardest; we all dislike the person with a grouch, who grumbles and complains and makes himself and all about him miserable.          

          Be a worker:  the busy person is the happy one; find some good work to do and do it even when you aren’t watched; never try to get something for nothing; deserve or go without.

          Love:  this sums it all up; learn to love all that is good and pure and true; learn to love the best in the world of books and music and art and nature and your fellow men; believe that we grow through love – a big all round love – as the flowers do in the sun, but that we shrivel up under hate as the flowers do beneath a frost.     

           In these ways build yourselves day by day without saying much about it.  Just try to be true, and pure, and brave, and generous, and kind, and cheerful, and busy and loving.  Then all those about you will be glad and will give you in return the richest treasures life can hold, -- their respect, and friendship, and love.

            I believe in you, every one.  I do hope such great things for you now and in all the years to come.  I shall always be...

 Your friend,


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