Those who can do nothing, and have to be waited on, are helpless, and easily disheartened at the misfortunes of life. Those who are active and handy, meet troubles with a cheerful face, and soon surmount them. Let young people, therefore, learn to do as many different useful things as possible.
Every farmer’s boy should know how, sooner or later...
1. To dress himself, black his own shoes, cut his brother’s hair, wind a watch, sew on a button, make a bed, and keep all his clothes in perfect order, and neatly in place.
2. To harness a horse, grease a wagon, and drive a team.
3. To carve, and wait on table.
4. To milk the cows, shear the sheep, and dress a veal or mutton.
5. To reckon money and keep accounts accurately, and according to good book-keeping rules.
6. To write a neat, appropriate, briefly expressed business letter, in a good hand, and fold and superscribe it properly; and write contracts.
7. To plough, sow grain and grass seed, drive a mowing machine, swing a scythe, build a neat stack, and pitch hay.
8. To put up a package, build a fire, whitewash a wall, mend broken tools, and regulate a clock.
There are many other things which would render boys more useful to themselves and to others—these are merely a specimen. But the young man who can do all these things well, and who is ready at all times to assist others, and be useful to his mother and sisters, will command far more respect and esteem, than if he knew merely how to drive fast horses, smoke cigars, play cards, and talk nonsense to foolish young ladies at parties.
[Thomas's Farmer's Almanac]