Thursday, January 9, 2020

A few bits of wisdom.

There; my blessing with thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
Look thou character.

- HAM, I.iii
From: Harrol W. Baker, Lakewood, OH
To: Miss Virginia Baker, Middlebury, VT

Sunday, Nov. 11 - 1956

Dear Tertia:

We were happy to have you call last night because you are always foremost on our minds and in our hearts. It is not always possible for me to collect my thoughts quickly. I wanted to call you back about 9 P.M. but Mom said you would be out with Sylvia viewing pictures of classic art.

I want to impart a few bits of wisdom which I have accumulated but not always used as I should.

Gather all the facts you can, then set a time limit and make a positive decision. The decision may even by proved unwise but even so a wrong decision is better than indecision. Great leaders make mistakes but they do not make the same mistake twice and they do not suffer from indecision. Men who never make mistakes are working for those who do.

There is no one who at one time or another is not afraid of something. The first way to meet fear is to keep yourself well and strong. Then prepare yourself to meet the situation you fear. Do what you fear to do or say and fear will vanish. With good health as a basis, people progress and succeed because they have a positive attitude and determination, not because they are born with some special aptitude. A great artist practices his skill more than an amateur.

Plan ahead but not too far ahead. Time is frightening to most people. Know your limits. Can you think or plan in terms of three years, one year, one month or one day. Bit by bit, day by day, we get better and better in our personality and skills. There is no short cut because we are all born ignorant.

In your decision whether to take the business course or the nursing course, plan in terms of one year only, then decide which you would rather do or could do most effectively. You might end up doing three years but don’t scare yourself with the thought of time in making the decision.

Mental Depression.
We all have our happy moments and our sad or blue moments. Others have similar feelings and experiences. So if we have a bad day and feel blue we must rationalize and say mentally, ‘This is only temporary and will soon pass to a happy & pleasant mood.’ When and if you are blue, ‘count your blessings.’ Get out and take a walk with a friend. Talk to people. Be positive and pull yourself out of a sad mood to a happy one.

In time of mental stress or anxiety, stop a few minutes for meditation and ask for God’s help & guidance. To do this effectively, take five minutes daily for deep meditation and religious reading. You must keep in practice to make use of this all powerful strength outside and beyond your own will. Through this process you will develop a quality known as ‘homeostasis,’ the ability to rebound from difficulties or adversity and make a new approach with a fresh attitude and renewed vigor. Give thanks for your happiness & Success.

You are now at an age when your emotions are very sensitive. You are beginning to realize or I should say anticipate the responsibilities of an adult. Thus any decision you make may have a lifelong effect and the whole future appears overwhelming. As you look back on this period in later life you will see it in a different light!

I mean to tell you this -- you are now at an age when you should learn various skills, have various experiences, all leading to a full and useful life. If you chose to take the business course it does not mean you will spend a lifetime in business. For one thing you would get practical experience in good judgement and how to make decisions. (I would like to take the course with you.)

If you decide on nursing school you will learn useful knowledge and skills even though it does not turn out to be your life work. Much growth comes just by daily contact with those with wise teachers and ambitious classmates.

What does all of this lead up to? It just means that you are preparing yourself to lead a useful and satisfying life. You are not preparing now to be an expert in any field of endeavor. To be an expert requires 10 years or more, often a lifetime. Opportunities now unknown will come to you and when they do you will be prepared.

So, throw off worry about the future. Have a positive attitude, like people, make friends, be happy day by day.

Mom & I love you dearly.

Write soon,


  1. Useful advise and so well stated. This is lovely. Your Grandfather was quite a future thinker. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Many thanks, indeed he was and I am glad you enjoyed it.

  2. WOW!!! This is awesome! Your grandfather even knew to discuss mental depression, which back then was something not discussed. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Indeed, I was also impressed. Many thanks.

  3. Thank you for sharing this inspiring wisdom and beautiful family memory. All great reminders that one can only hope to pass on to their children.

    1. Indeed, I'm glad so many have been affected by this post! <3

  4. Wow, if only we all had such letters at critical junctures of our lives to reflect on. What a beautiful legacy. Thank you for sharing.