Winter is fast approaching. Already it has sent out its skirmishers, in the form of stinging winds, and bitter snow. squalls. With it will come long evenings of leisure. Young men, what do you intend to do with these evenings ? There are a thousand inducements to squander them. The gayly lighted billiard-room, opens its doors and invites you to enter. The theater, the ball, solicit you. All sorts of similar temptations allure you to spend your time and money; and many of you will be drawn into extravagant expenditure, by these, in themselves, innocent amusements. Another and worse class of temptations will beset you. The drinking saloon, the house of ill-fame, will invite you to enter, and with delusive excitements seek to blindyour moral perceptions and lead you to ruin. What are you going to do with these precious evenings ? Will you throw away their golden opportunities, and take upon you a burden of vain regret for the years that are to come ? Do you not see their value, if improved ? There are thousands of young mechanics who will see these words, and will, some of them, perhaps, resolve that this winter shall not be spent as was the last. This winter shall be devoted to neglected arithmetic, algebra, or book-keeping. They will seize the coming leisure to perfect their knowledge of drawing, or to complete their perusal of some scientific, historical, or literary work begun long ago, but still unfinished. They know the value of time and they will no longer squander it. Alas ! how few of these wise resolutions will be kept. Yet we are hopeful that some will be influenced by our exhortation to use their time in a more profitable manner than do the majority of pleasure-loving young men. . The means of self.improvement are now so widely diffused that no one seeking knowledge can fail to obtain them, and while we do not counsel the utter renunciation of innocent amusements, it is always wisdom to subordinate these things to higher purposes. Young mechanics, and young men of whatever occupation you may be, you may refer your future success or failure to the way in which you employ this winter's leisure. Then what will you do with your evenings ?
This article was originally published with the title "What will you do with your Evenings this Winter?" in Scientific American 21, 22, 345 (November 1869)