June 23, 1900
To My Son, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Jr.
You are only a little fellow now—a trifle over 14 months old; but I have loved
you so dearly since you came that it has been on my mind to write you a letter
in the event of my being taken away at any time before I have had a chance to
tell you many things which you need to know.
Your father wants his Boy first of all to love,
protect and care for his Mother, giving to her the same kind of measure of love
and devotion which she has given to you.
Second, your father wants his Boy to be sincere,
honest and upright. Be your true self always. Hate dishonesty and trickery no
matter how big and how great the thing desired may be.
Third, your father wants you to have a proper
independence of thought.... Think matters out for yourself always where it
relates to your own conduct and act honestly afterwards.
Fourth, your father wants you to be an American in
democracy. Treat everybody with courtesy and as your equal until he proves his
unworthiness to be so treated. The man and the soul are what count—not wealth,
not family, not appearance.
Fifth, your father wants you to abhor evil. No
curiosity, no imagination, no conversation, no story, no reading which suggests
impurity of life is worthy of your thought or attention and I beg you never to
yield for an instant but turn your thought to something good and helpful.
Sixth, train yourself to be master of yourself, of
your thought and imagination and temper and passion and appetite and of your
body. Hold all absolutely under your will. Allow no thought nor imagination,
nor passion, nor appetite to injure your mind or body. Your father has never
used intoxicating liquors, nor tobacco, nor profane language. He wants his Boy
to be like him in this regard.
Seventh, your father wants his Boy enthusiastic and
earnest in all of his interests, his sports, his studies, his work; and he
wants him always to keep an active, actual participation in each so long as he
lives. It is my judgment that one's life is most healthy and most successful
when lived out on such a basis.
Eighth, your father wants his son to love God as He is
revealed to him; which after all will be the revelation of all that I have said
and left unsaid of good to you, my precious Boy.