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Ethics for Young Girls: Lesson 7: Self Control and Courage

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 17, 2012

Ethics for Young Girls

Young Woman’s Journal, 1900-1901

Lesson 7: Self-Control and Courage

It was decided in a former lesson that each member of the family has the right to accumulate and retain property which should be sacred to him. The individual has other rights, which may be briefly mentioned. A girl has the right to use her individuality in dress, to encourage natural tendencies in the right direction. The mother has the right to carry on the workings of her household in her own way. When the daughter has a house of her own, she has the right to do likewise.

The boys and girls have the right to invite their friends into the house under the supervision of mother. In fact, each member of the home has the right to do as he pleases, as long as he does not infringe upon the rights of others.

In this lesson we will discuss courage, or self-control. There can be no courage without self-control, and where there is self-control there is always courage to some extent. Very closely associated with courage is patience and forbearance.

Mrs. Lange is placed in a responsible position in our Church. She knows she was called there by God, yet she dislikes her work; it conflicts with her tastes. With His help she performs her duty. What courage this required only those who have been placed in like positions can imagine.

Miss Fielding, a young Mormon girl, assists with the housework in a non-Mormon family. She makes delicious coffee for the members of the family. In her previous life she acquired such a taste for coffee that it amounted almost to a passion. When the aroma of the coffee fills the room, she feels faint and weak so great is her longing for it, but, having determined to keep the word of wisdom, she exercises self-control and refrains from taking it.

Mrs. M—– was intensely jealous of her husband, who, though not faithless in the least to his wife, admires other women. She suffered agonies if he was even courteous to beautiful women. Finding how miserable she was becoming, she determined to crush out the devilish jealousy in her crooked nature. Did she accomplish it? Well, she is trying and she has arrived at a point where she can say, “I can trust my husband, and there is no foundation for my jealousy.” Did she exhibit any courage or self-control?

Miss Alley is a beautiful young girl intensely fond of pretty clothes. She was to graduate from the Brigham Young Academy. Her father said to her, “My darling, you may have a beautiful graduating dress if you wish, but I would like my daughter to graduate, and not the dress. Will you graduate in your school dress, as an example to other girls?” After a while she looked with brave eyes into her father’s face. “Yes; I will,” she said, and she did it.

Miss Alice was extremely frightened of cows. She did not dare to pass one on the street. At last she said to herself, “I suffer mentally more from my fear of cows than I could suffer bodily if I were hurt, so I am going near this one.” She did so with a throbbing heart and was not touched by the cow. After some time she gained entire control of herself in this matter. How many of us suffer from terror like this which finds existence only in the mind!

Volumes could be made of just such acts of courage and self-control. Some of us think that a courageous act is one out of the ordinary. Let me ask you a question. Does it take more courage for you to rescue a child from being run over, or to perform faithfully all your tasks, controlling your thoughts and words?

It doesn’t take so much courage to face a severe trial, but how much courage does it take to control the quick tongue, to perform cheerfully hated tasks, to be courteous at all times, to carry out the golden rule, to do favors which inconvenience ourselves, to abstain from food which is not good for us; to control the desire to speak ill of a person we do not like, to always be neat and clean about our dress.

Self-control comes only through great self-effort and the help of God.


1. Thinking of the definition of ethics, is self-control an ethical principle?
2. Relate the most heroic act you know.
3. Does it require courage for a mother to attend to her household duties?
4. How much courage does it require for father to go to work each day?
5. What is the relation between habit and self-control?
6. Explain the psychological principle that everyone should perform each day a duty which is unpleasant.
7. Relate an instance in the life of Christ, when He practically asked God for self-control.
8. How is it possible for a teacher to control children if she has not self control? for a mother?
9. What faculty of the mind is developed, when we control ourselves?
10. What is the principal cause of nervous prostration?
11. How does a nervous person improve herself?



  1. What an extraordinary difference in outlook a century makes! I wonder what non-LDS writers most influenced the author.

    Comment by Stephen Taylor — July 17, 2012 @ 8:48 am

  2. “6. Explain the psychological principle that everyone should perform each day a duty which is unpleasant.”

    Didn’t Calvin’s father try to teach Calvin that principle? “Go do something to make yourself miserable. Misery builds character.”

    (And no, I’m not talking about John Calvin!)

    Comment by Amy T — July 17, 2012 @ 9:22 am

  3. This reminds me of the David O. McKay quote “The greatest battles of life are fought out daily in the silent chambers of the soul.”

    Comment by The Other Clark — July 17, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

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