Friday, October 7, 2011

Ma's Wisdom

I recently re-read the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I read that series over and over as a child, but it's been at least 10 years since I've jumped into the world of the Ingalls family. I think it was just as enjoyable as an adult!

While reading Little Town on the Prairie last week, a little passage took my attention. The family has been fighting off spreading weeds and a flock of blackbirds from destroying their crops. One afternoon, Ma and Laura are sewing and Pa is out in the field. Laura looks out the window.

"The prairie looks so beautiful and gentle," she said. "but I wonder what it will do next. Seems like we have to fight it all the time."
"This earthly life is a battle," said Ma.  "If it isn't one thing to contend with, it's another. It always has been so, and it always will be. The sooner you make up your mind to that, the better off you are, and the more thankful for your pleasures."

I don't think many of us have to contend with life the same way farmers and settlers used to. We're used to things being easy, and if they're not, we complain. We feel like life's not fair if a little extra elbow grease is required. Part of the problem is that we've been conditioned to expect things to be easy. I think this expectation has a lot to do with my attitude sometimes.

If I look at life as something that should unfold smoothly before me at every step, then hardships produce resentment and ungratefulness. And I focus on the hardships. If I look at life as a battle worthy to be fought, then pleasures become all the more sweeter and gratefulness has room to grow. And I focus on the blessings.

So this post is really just a challenge to me to heed Ma's wisdom, get ready to roll up my sleeves, and be thankful for every pleasure that comes my way today.



  1. I think focusing on our blessings is key. While life isn't always easy, I try to remember that my life is so much easier than a lot of others. For example, I don't have to walk miles every day to get clean water. I have electricity. My family is going to eat today. Overall, seasonal colds aside, we are in good health. Etc, etc. Oh, and having a washing machine! ;)

    I never did get through all of the Little House books as I kid. I know I read some of them. I read "Little House in the Big Woods" last winter. I found it fascinating in ways I wouldn't have taken in as a child. The preparation for winter, the storing of food, etc. I've been collecting all of the books from the assorted library sales though. I plan on working through the rest soon. Was it "Farmer Boy" that was your favourite?

  2. Yes, I think Farmer Boy was my favourite! That's what made me want to be a farmer, haha. It's definitely a mouth watering book :) I also really liked Little House in the Big Woods. You should read them all! They didn't take me too long, I read them over a couple months. I don't have any of them here (maybe our old set is in Mom and Dad's basement?), so I got them out from the library.


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