If I were a boy again, I would practice perseverance oftener, and never give a thing up because it was hard or inconvenient to do it. If we want light, we must conquer darkness. When I think of mathematics, I blush at the recollection of how often I "caved in" years ago. There is no trait more valuable than a determination to persevere when the right thing is to be accomplished. We are all inclined to give up too easily, in trying or unpleasant situations, and the point I would establish with myself, if the choice were again within my grasp, would be never to relinquish my hold on a possible success, if mortal strength or brains in my case were adequate to the occasion.  That was a capital lesson which Professor Faraday taught one of his students in the lecture-room, after some chemical experiments. The lights had been put out in the hall, and, by accident, some small article dropped on the floor from the Professor's hand. The Professor lingered behind, endeavoring to pick it up. "Never mind," said the student; "it is of no consequence tonight, sir, whether we find it or not." "That is true," replied the Professor; "but it is of great consequence to me, as a principle, that I am not foiled in my determination to find it." Perseverance can sometimes equal genius in its results. "There are only two creatures," says the Eastern proverb,

"that can surmount the pyramids-the eagle and the snail."

If I were a boy again, I would school myself into a habit of attention oftener. I would remember that an expert on the ice never tries to skate in two directions at once. One of our great mistakes, while we are young, is that we do not attend strictly to what we are about just then, at that particular moment. We do not bend our energies close enough to what we are doing or learning.

We wander into a half-interest only, and so never acquire fully what is needful for us to become master of. The practice of being habitually attentive is one easily attained if we begin early enough.  I often hear grown-up people say, "I couldn't fix my attention on the sermon, or book, although I wished to do so." And the reason is, a habit of attention was never formed in youth.  If I were to live my life over again, I would pay more attention to the cultivation of memory.  I would strengthen that faculty by every possible means and on every possible occasion. It takes a little hard work at first to remember things accurately; but memory soon helps itself, and gives very little trouble. It only needs early cultivation to become a power. Everybody can acquire it.



James T. Fields.