Tag Archives: Advice

What advice does a dying man offer?

This letter will, to you, be as one from the dead, the writer will be in the grave before you can weigh it’s counsels. your affectionate and excellent father has requested that I would address to you something which might possibly have a favorable influence on the course of life you have to run, and I too, as a namesake, feel an interest in that course. few words will be necessary with good dispositions on your part.
adore God. reverence and cherish your parents. love your neighbor as yourself, and your country more than yourself. be just. be true. murmur not at the ways of Providence. so shall the life into which you have entered be the Portal to one of eternal and ineffable bliss.
and if to the dead it is permitted to care for the things of this world, every action of your life will be under my regard. farewell.
Th: Jefferson to Th: Jefferson Smith, February 21, 1825

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Dying leaders can still inspire.
A better known portion of this letter is his “Decalogue of Canons for Observation in Practical Life,” Part One and Part Two. These summed his 81 years of experience and wisdom into 10 principles for everyday living.
Here, Jefferson encouraged his namesake to:
1. Love God
2. Love your parents
3. Love your neighbor as yourself
4. Love your country more than youself.
5. Be honest and truthful.
6. Don’t complain about God’s ways.
A life lived by these principles would usher young Smith into another life of perfect and eternal happiness.

It would be 16 ½ months before Jefferson died, but his health was failing. He knew his end couldn’t be far. If he could see this world from the next, he promised to watch over his namesake.

“Mr. Jefferson’s presentation on leadership was a wonderful and unique way
to kick off an extremely successful conference.”
County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania
Will “wonderful” and “unique” appeal to your audience?
Invite Thomas Jefferson to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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What’s a (lost) teenager to do?

When I recollect that at 14 years of age, the whole care and direction of my self was thrown on my self entirely, without a relation or friend qualified to advise or guide me, and recollect the various sorts of bad company with which I associated from time to time, I am astonished I did not turn off with some of them, and become as worthless to society as they were. I had the good fortune to become acquainted very early with some characters of very high standing, and to feel the incessant wish that I could even become what they were. Under temptations and difficulties, I could ask myself what would …[they] …  do in this situation? What course in it will ensure me their approbation [approval]?
To Thomas Jefferson Randolph, Nov. 24, 1808

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Leaders-in-making need wise older counselors.
Jefferson wrote encouragement and guidance to his 18 year old grandson studying in Philadelphia. Jeff, as he was known, was far from his family and their protective influences.
Here, Jefferson referenced his own experience when his father died in 1757. At age 14, he felt all alone. (This evidences his lack of a close relationship with his mother. She still lived, yet he wrote he was, “without a relation or friend qualified to advise or guide me.”)
Jefferson acknowledged some bad companions as a half-orphaned teenager and expressed his surprise he didn’t turn out like them. The temporarily lost young man was rescued from his own foolishness by the care and direction of a few older and wiser men. Through their influence, Jefferson’s desire was to become like them, instead of his wayward acquaintances. When he struggled, he would ask himself, “What would they do? What response of mine would gain their approval?”

“I am pleased to give Patrick Lee my highest recommendation as a speaker.”
Executive Director, Wyoming School Boards Association

Thomas Jefferson stands ready to inspire, inform and entertain your audience!
Call 573-657-2739

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Watch out for these folks!

Look steadily to the pursuits which have carried you to Philadelphia, be very select in the society you attach yourself to; avoid taverns, drinkers, smoakers, and idlers and dissipated persons generally; for it is with such that broils and contentions arise, and you will find your path more easy and tranquil.
To TJ Randolph, Nov. 24, 1808

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Caring leaders mentor younger ones to avoid troublemakers!

Jefferson wrote to his 16 year old grandson, who had gone to Philadelphia to further his education. This excerpt comes at the end of a long letter full of practical advice and warnings. Thomas Jefferson Randolph, known as Jeff, was a favorite of his grandfather’s. Jeff’s father was a troubled man, and the elder Jefferson took an active role in his grandson’s life.
Here’s the bottom line: Trouble comes from associating with drinkers, drinking establishments, smokers, idle people and those with little self-control. Avoid them for a more tranquil life!
I told you this letter was long. He concludes with this line, “The limits of my paper warn me that it is time for me to close with my affectionate Adieux.” Chances are postal rates at the time were per page and paid by the recipient, not the sender. Rather than double the expense with more advice and another page, and with a rare bit of humor, Grand-Papa closes.

Your audience would benefit from the full contents of this letter!
Invite Thomas Jefferson to speak and share its wisdom with you.
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