Mother Jackson’s Advice

Gratitude-JacksonAdvice to Andrew Jackson by his Mother

In 1781 Andrew Jackson, then 14 years of age, enlisted in the American army, was captured and thrown into prison where he had smallpox. His mother Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson, through exchange arranged for his release and nursed him back to health. Responding to an urgent appeal, she left him to go to Charleston to nurse some sick neighbors who were confined there on a British hospital ship. This errand of mercy cost her life. She caught yellow fever and died.

Almost her last words to her young son were:

“Andrew, if I should not see you again, I wish you to remember and treasure up some things I have already said to you; in this world you will have to make your own way. To do that you must have friends. You can make friends by being honest and you can keep them by being steadfast. You must keep in mind that friends worth having will, in the long run, expect as much from you as they give to you.

To forget an obligation or to be ungrateful for a kindness is a base crime – not merely a fault or a sin but an actual crime. Men guilty of it sooner or later must suffer the penalty.

In personal conduct, be always polite but never obsequious. None will respect you more than you respect yourself.

Avoid quarrels as long as you can without yielding to imposition. But sustain your manhood always. Never bring a suit in law for assault and battery or for defamation. The law offers no remedy for such outrages that can satisfy the feelings of a true man.

Never wound the feelings of others. Never brook wanton outrage upon your own feelings. If ever you have to vindicate your feelings or defend your honor, do it calmly. If angry at first, wait till your wrath cools before you proceed.”

Good Advice all around!

Be Well.
The Gratitude Guru


  1. RaeAnn Douglas on June 13, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Thank you Paul…I wish that our country would be able to live by these words.

  2. Paul on June 13, 2011 at 11:39 am

    @RaeAnn – I completely agree; not only if our country would be able to live by these words, but EVERY country as well. Of course, a country is made up of the people that live there.

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. Laurence Hansen on June 13, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Thank-you, Paul.
    Mother Jackson’s advice is as good now as it was in 1781.

    I also wanted to comment on today’s Gratitude Burst: “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer

    To this I would add this: Live each day as though your spark is all that’s needed to rekindle the light of at least one other person.


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