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produce more, call business principles to his aid, and some day he will wake up to find that farming, even with him, pays.
INDUSTRY. I have said that farmers, too many of them, place no adequate value upon time. Point me to a single successful one among them, if you can, who does not value time and make the most of it. Industry is a habit, and it is one of
a the few good habits to be formed, and should be formed in youth. The industrious farmer will be up and doing in the morning, while his less successful neighbor still sleeps; and he will plan to keep himself and his hired help occupied during the day, and employed to advantage; and.if he is a wise man, he will plan to do his work the easiest way, and make it count for all that it is worth. He will also do well that which he undertakes. It is not enough to produce a superior article ; the article should be put up and sold in a superior manner. All the work is then of a superior quality, and a superior price is the result. The industrial babit is the first round to the ladder of success; like the first round in all ladders, it should be one of the strongest.
ECONOMY. One of hardest lessons for every man to learn is that of economy. This, too, is a habit, and must be acquired ; all the better if acquired in early life. It is an absolute essential to success in farming. The rule is inexorable:
Spend less than you earn, be the latter ever so little.” We often wonder at the number of successful men who began life in poverty. I apprehend that the enforced lesson of doing with but little in early life was of incalculable value to them, indeed, was one of the corner-stones of the foundations of their success. No doubt they thought their lot in early life hard; no doubt they shrink from the thought that their children may be required to endure like hardships. Here is a point, bowever, worth considering. Is not the easiest way to succeed in any business, farming included, to begin at the bottom of the ladder and work up, - grow up with the business, as we say? The road looks long and dreary to the impatient and ambitious youth ; nevertheless, it is the easiest, and for this reason is fruitful of the greatest results.
Successful men seem to lose sight of this fact. They are prone to boast that their fortunes were made and their success established under great difficulties. They never had such chances as they propose to give their children. They had to work for their living just as soon as they were big enough to work. They had to practice self-denial all along the road. Industry and economy,– you will observe, – the two habits of all others essential to success, they were compelled to form. How about these children they propose to start in life on an improved plan? Are they industrious and economical? Undoubtedly they are, so far as their circumstances have taught them to be. But think you they know the value of every cent in a dollar, like the boy who has been obliged to earn it with his own hand, and then spend it in support of his aged or invalid parents? Or have they the slightest idea of economy, as compared with the forced self-denial endured by those in abject poverty ? Oh,
But the kind-hearted father proposes to give his sons an easier time than he himself had. So he divides his
property, we will say $100,000, among four sons,
four sons brought up, educated and trained in a family where the annual income was that derived from $100,000. With $25,000 cach they are sent forth upon the world to practice economy, live within their income, and add to their fort
The kind father expects them to do this, so does the world at large. Did the well-disposed father ever ask himself how he would succeed doing the same thing, reducing his expenditures seventy-five per cent? It would not be very funny even for him, and the chances are ten to one that he would not do it, - pride would ruin him. But he expects his son to do it. Well, I do not say that the son cannot. It all depends upon his son's strength. But I do say that unless he has given that son exceptional training, such training as every father ought to give his son, in the care, management and expenditure of money, he gives him with this $25,000 a far more difficult task than he supposes, and one perhaps quite as difficult as he himself was ever called
upon to perform. I suppose that a man can lift an ox, if he will begin and lift the animal every day from a calf up; but if he should ask his son to go out and lift the ox without previous experience, all would depend upon the son's strength. Ile may succeed, but there are a good many chances against him. There is some chance for the exercise of charity, therefore, even with the rich.
Poverty, then, has some advantages as a birthplace, but is of no earthly use to those who have not the will, the courage and the endurance in them to rise out of their low estate. I by no means recommend it as an essential to success, I am only not insensible to its advantages. Nor would I be understood as implying that economy is by any means confined to the poor. There is the same relative economy in the case of the man who carns ten dollars and spends nine dollars as is manifested by the man who earns a thousand dollars and spends nine hundred dollars, - one-tenth of the income has been saved in either case. Or reverse the figures, and one tenth of the income has been squandered or lost. Economy is an all-important habit, not only for the financial success which must inevitably result from living within one's income, but the whole future is also valuable in the strength of character which such a course gives a man.
It makes more of a man of him; and this is by no means a small consideration, when we consider success in life in its broadest sense. The economical man will look out especially for the thousand and one little leaks to which the farm is subject; and these little things may turn the scale, -- indeed, they often have turned it from prospective failure to assured success.
A high moral standard, freedom from vice and bad habits, are essentials to the highest success always. No less is this true among farmers than among other classes. Let us hope that New England farmers may never be less noted than they are at present in this respect of high standard, but that rather the future may be an improvement upon
INTEGRITY. “ His word is as good as his bond ;” “An honest man is the noblest work of God;” “Honesty is the best policy,” — what a number of these sayings come to us, as we take up this important essential to success. Dollars and cents may come to the accumulative scoundrel, be he farmer or otherwise ; but success, never. Self-respect and the confidence and respect of the community are essentials to happiness, and human happiness is the measure of success.
GOOD IIEALTH. Good health is the natural accompaniment of a good constitution, and is a highly important essential to success. Poor health cripples, delays and impairs bodily and mental action. There is no occupation more favorable to good health than farming. There is no purer air, no cleaner water,
, no better exercise to be bad in the world than upon the farm ; and yet statistics show that farmers are by no means the longest-lived people, which indicates that something is wrong somewhere. It is the duty of every one to not only look out for his own health, but also for that of his family as well. Doctors' bills are most expensive, and it is or should be a part of one's business to prevent the necessities wbich occasion them as far as possible. Many a farmer has been most seriously hampered by sickness in his family. This opens a subject for a whole essay in itself. I will allude to only a few of the bearings upon the case, and will name
, some of those less frequently touched upon.
In these days of modern improvements and cheap appliances, there is no reason why more conveniences should not be added to our farm-houses. The really comfortable farm house comfortable in which to live or convenient in which to work is still the exception rather than the rule in our country towns. This is true even upon the farms of those who in many ways are successful farmers, and who have the most approved modern barns and stables for their cattle. It is strange that wife and children, dearer than all else on earth to the farmer, have to wait for improvements to be supplied to the barn ; and, if any money is spent for
the house, it is for a piano, a picture, a new front door, or some extra parlor furniture, too often instead of for some substantial improvement in the kitchen, like self-filling hotwater tanks, from which hot water may be drawn at the sink or in other parts of the house, a modern water-closet or bath room, a convenient cooking table, or a practical furnace or steam heater. How the inhabitant of the city dreads the country farm-house in winter, — particularly the cold, death-damp of the spare room and spare bed, — and well indeed he may, for these houses are responsible for many a sickness and death both of city and country people. Then, too, the unevenly leated house, associated with which are the cold, damp cellars, cold floors, here a cold room, there a warm one, sleeping rooms so cold that water will freeze in the pitchers at nights; privies, relies of the age of barbarism, - sick and well alike, to occupy them, passing from the atmosphere of a room heated by an air-tiglit stove to the cold chill of Greenland's snowy mountains and a block of ice.
Are such things healthful? The rugged may stand them, but how about the sickly and the weak? Can't afford anything different? Added to a little house planning and personal labor, the price of a silk dress or of one year's cigars will put a modern water-closet into any farm-house in this State. A similar expenditure will put in a wood furnace, and a like amount an improved copper boiler, with running hot water at the kitchen sink.
The reason these are not added is because of dreaded expense. The fact is, they need not be expensive unless they are made
Once in, these comforts would never be parted with for money, and our boys and girls would see just so much less of difference and attraction in city life. There is no reason to-day why city people should be comfortable and farmers' families miserable. Cost does not stand in the way. Action is all that is wanted. It is needless for me to caution against over-eating, over-drinking (especially ice water) or overwork. We all know better than to do such things, and yet we persist in doing them to a greater or less extent. Late hours are detrimental to health, yet how many people dissipate in this way.