Old-School Advice That Still Remains Relevant

Daily, men and women do a score of things that they know to be hurtful and insane, because they fear to be accounted “peculiar,” and “not quite respectable;” and so it comes about that “the keeping up of appearances,” as it is called, the incessant striving to be popular at all costs, engenders endless hypocrisies and falsehoods, and makes knaves and cowards.
– The Blight of Respectability [Geoffrey Mortimer, 1897]

It is a common failing to expect another person to keep a secret which we have just proved is beyond our own capability.
– The Spinster Book [Myrtle Reed, 1901]

We should subdue our gloomy moods before we enter society.  To look pleasantly and to speak kindly is a duty we owe to others.  Neither should we afflict them with any dismal account of our health state of mind or outward circumstances.  It is presumed that each one has trouble enough of his own to bear without being burdened with the sorrows of others.
– Self Culture and Home Training [Richard A. Wells, 1891]

I shall add to my list, as the eighth deadly sin, that of anxiety of mind; and resolve not to be pining and miserable, when I ought to be grateful and happy.
– On The Comforts of Old Age [Sir Thomas Bernard, 1817]

Do nothing which you will remember with regret on your dying bed. It is well always to keep death in view; it has a good effect upon our minds.
– How to be a Lady [Harvey Newcomb, 1850]

The man who will not defend the honour of his cat cannot be trusted to defend anything.
– The Pleasures of Ignorance [Robert Lynd, 1921]

The habit of swearing is not a mark of manliness.  It is the sign of a dull, coarse, unrefined nature, a lack of verbal initiative.  Sometimes, perhaps, profanity seems picturesque and effective.  I have known it so in Arizona once or twice, in old Mexico and perhaps in Wyoming, but never in the home, or in the street, or the ordinary affairs of life.
– An Address to Young Men [David Starr Jordan, 1903]

Don’t hesitate to hear other people’s opinions.  The World did not begin, nor will it end, with you.
– The College Freshman’s Don’t Book [George Fullerton Evans, 1910]

Be not frightened or provoked at opinions differing from your own.
– Self Culture and Home Training [Richard A. Wells, 1891]

It is vulgar not to show self-respect.
– The Home and Farm Manual [Hon. Jonathan Periam, 1884]

Don’t be afraid of your own company.  You may find yourself a very pleasant companion.
– Don’ts for Boys [1902]

By the time we are thirty, at least, life has usually taught us that the only person each of us can change is herself; and that is such hard work we don’t often try.
– Manners in Business [Elizabeth Gregg MacGibbon, 1936]

Omitting all punctuation marks is likely to lead to confusion, and such a practice should not be indulged in.
– Success in Letter Writing [Sherwin Cody, 1913]


  • Wilson Jake

    The man who will not defend the honour of his cat cannot be trusted to defend anything; nothing is too small to stand in for….. honor the little to see greater ones coming

  • Prince

    Don’t hesitate to hear other people’s opinions. The World did not begin, nor will it end, with you. YES OOO, like my grandma would say; you cant have the knowledge alone; the world is not built that way.

    • Janine Marie Bocateja

      Elders advice are very moving at all times. They do have a lot of experience in life and teaches you a lot.

  • Danielle M

    Wonderful quotes, I love the first one. There’s just few people that take the chance to be authentic. It costs a lot and can be a painful road but at the end it’s worthy.

  • David Tjoe

    Yeah, I like some of this. The advice of the elders is valuable input that is worth considering. All kinds of actions will certainly have sanctions and their consequences.

  • Alex

    I agree but not to the notion that they always know best. I always prefer to be adaptable/ flexible. For one old teachings might not be applicable and vise versa. It all boils down to judgement and execution,

  • esgyll

    I truly believe that the keeping up of appearances can be somewhat taxing on one’s mind, especially more so in the risk of one’s social standing. It is such a very difficult game to play, if it were to be balanced in every aspect, where you should show who you really are or show your false face.

  • Maury Cheskes

    Amazing list of quotes. I think the Richard A. Wells and George Fullerton Evans were my favorites. I really agree with the notion that your attitude transcends and to be mindful of all the value you can learn from others. I think these messages could really guide people to rich, fulfilling lives.

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