Thursday, March 16, 2006

Little House on the Prairie -- Model for the Modern Woman?

I hadn't read Little House on the Prairie in a long time -- maybe 30+ years!

I had forgotten just how harsh a portrayal it is of pioneeer life. Here this small family -- with a dad, a mom , two little girls (under 10) and a baby -- work for a year -- ONE WHOLE YEAR -- to protect their home from prairie fires, Indians, malaria and just about anything else you can think of. They work so hard and then they are turned away from the land because the US goverment decided that they were in "Indian Territory".

As a mom, I just can't imagine what Caroline Ignallls went through: taken far from her family, out in the middle of Inidian Territory (she was deathly afraid of Indians) to an unknown land. She has to do things that today seem absolutely impossible. And she never balks -- she never questions Charles or says "I told you so" when things don't work.

And why did she do this?

Caroline Ingalls left everything behind to go live on the Prairies with her family for a year, and then moved on because:

that's what her husband thought was best for the family.

It's as simple as that. In any group of people, one person must be in charge of the big decisions -- whether it's a corporation, a Parish, or a family. Some ONE must be in charge. In the Ingalls family, Pa was in charge -- he had the best interests of the family at heart and worked to make a better living for them. But his word was the final word on most of the big decisions.

Sometimes, it seems that American society is in the shape it's in because we have gone away from this ideal. When you try to have more than one head of things -- again, whether it's a corporation, a Parish or a family -- things don't work. Chaos reigns. Anarchy rules.

Maybe this classic story of pioneer life is just as appropriate a model for today as it was back in the 1930s when Mrs. Wilder first published her books!

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