Yesterday I taught a Sunday School class covering the letters of Alma the Younger to his sons Helaman, Shiblon, and Corainton (Alma 36-39). For a modern illustration, I used excerpts from some of the letters Brigham Young wrote to his sons and daughters, as quoted in chapter 7 of Leonard J. Arrington's Adventures of a Church Historian. Here are a couple of excerpts.
Here's the handwritten personal postscript Brigham added to a dictated letter to his oldest son, Joseph Angell Young, who was serving as a missionary in England. [Note: Brigham used phonetic spelling, which was retained in the excerpt and, with careful transcription, here.]
My Dear Son Joseph
It is now late at nigh, the male has arived this evening and I have heard your letter red, and it rejoice my hart to here sush good knews frm you. May the Lord Bles you for ever and ever, is my Prayr for you. We are jest movin in to our new house. I suepose Mary and the Children will give all the famely knews. You can hardly emagen the joy it gives me to here such good knew from you. My sole leaps for joye. Be faithful my son and the Lord will Bles you and I Bles you. Remember you are my oldest son, the arc of the famely. I want you to be faithful that you may [be] worthe of your stashon in my Kingdom. Give my love to all the Brethren. God Bles you Brigham Young. (p. 115; word in brackets in original.)
Here's to his son Willard, a cadet at West Point about to graduate.
I admire your determination to use your leisure hours in studying, especially of our holy religion. I am desirous that you should also give especial attention to engineering, chemistry, minerology, and geology. If there are works on these sciences in the library of your post, I think it would be wise of you to use them to the best advantage, and read up on these branches. Amongst the pleasure of my life at the present time is the thought that so many of my sons are acquiring experimental and practical knowledge that will fit them for lives of great usefulness. And with this thought I associate the hope that by God's mercy that knowledge will be applied in striving to save the souls of men, and building up the kingdom of heaven on the earth. (p. 117.)
What caught my attention in the first excerpt was the love and pride Brigham showed for his son, using much the same language any contemporary father would use writing to a missionary son. What caught my attention in the second excerpt and others included in cited chapter was the mix of religious and practical counsel have gave to his children (letters to daughters were included as well). Brigham was both a religious and a practical man.