At this patriotic time of year, we often recall our nation’s founding fathers. Here at JNPA, we’re particularly fond of the visionary Thomas Jefferson, whom the National Park Service honors as part of the founding mission of Gateway Arch National Park. But while Jefferson is famous for many reasons (let’s see — third U.S. President, author of the Declaration of Independence, signer of the Louisiana Purchase…), you might not be familiar with his lesser known Ten Rules of Conduct.
Thomas Jefferson often advised others, including his children and grandchildren, on how to conduct themselves and frequently developed lists of personal behavior for them. In 1825, the year before he died, he imparted what he called “a decalogue of canons for observation in practical life.” Some of these rules were borrowed from literary sources; others seem to be his own creation.
Jefferson’s rules seem to be as relevant today as they were in the 1800s:
- Never put off till tomorrow what you can do to-day.
- Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
- Never spend your money before you have it.
- Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.
- Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.
- We never repent of having eaten too little.
- Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
- How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened!
- Take things always by their smooth handle.
- When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, an hundred.
If you decide to share Jefferson’s useful rules with the children in your family, why not also treat them to this mini-building block set? That way, they can build their own (4-inch) statue to Jefferson.