Saturday, September 25, 2010

Little House on the Prairie

It may seem odd that a set of children’s books should be on my list of life-changing literature, but as I began composing this list I realized just how much the Ingalls family shaped my view of what family should be. I read this series through at least six times before graduating high school. Then I read it to my three children. And this is what I learned about family:
  • Pa and Ma should be totally devoted to each other and the family through thick and thin. They create an atmosphere of love and safety for their children. They should be kind and gentle, but lovingly firm when necessary.
  • Pleasure should be found in a job well done and in simple things like a sunrise, wildflowers, striped gophers, and sliding down a haystack.
  • A wonderful day of family fun consists of going to the swim hole and having Pa dunk you, or reading aloud together while Ma does handwork.
  • Christmas is about selflessness.
  • Pa should work hard but still have time to play with the children at night and tell them stories.
  • Ma, the perfect example of the Proverbs 31 woman, should be devoted to her family, making sure they are properly clothed and fed, etc, and is respectful and submissive to her husband. She should also be resourceful.
  • Children are taught how to read, write, and do arithmetic at Ma’s knee. They learn how to respect their parents and each other and to love God and country.
  • Everyone in the family should contribute to the well-being of the family.
  • Hospitality is a virtue.
  • A family works together, plays together, eats together, and sticks together.

Living in 2010 is much different from living in the late 1800’s. I’ll admit that I’m thankful for air-conditioning, automobiles, and Wal-mart, yet I somehow feel we have lost something very valuable in our fast-paced society. The “Little House” books inspire me to recapture something of that gentle era leaving me with a warm fuzzy feeling of contentment. After all, in my mind, that’s what family should be.

    1 comment:

    Dawn said...

    I agree! I never read the Little House books when I was a child, but I did watch the t.v. series, and I learned the same things about what a family should be like. I loved their family.