Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Hard Pill to Swallow

I have been pondering the importance of preparing our children for adulthood. More importantly, preparing them in ways that will not only prepare them in practical skills, but will prepare them for their future mind-sets.
I come from a first generation Christian family. My grandparents, I do not believe were saved they way Scripture teaches. My parents were saved as adults (through the Catholic and Episcopal churches, no less), and did their best to introduce Christ to my brother and I. I lay no blame on them, as they did the best they could with what they had. They (mom and dad) had no example of what a Christian family looked like. I am grateful to them both for the way they struck out of their familial comfort zone, and chose to follow Christ.
However, I understood very little, starting my own family, about the importance of strong character. That sounds terrible, but I guess I mean the kind of strong character that can smile in the midst of dificulty, exhibit a sweet, kind spirit when plans are running amuck, and bear all things for love of the other person. Character that exhibits diligence when no one is watching, is thankful even in uncertain circumstances and most importantly, can remember to turn to the One who created us when that character is starting to crumble, due to stress, fear, exhaustion, confusion, and so on.
I struggle so often in the minute by minute living, when the house is chaotic, the kids aren't listening, supper is waiting to be made, I have a list of chores a mile long...or worse, half-done chores, waiting to be finished. I think about people from history like Caroline Ingalls, Laura Ingalls famous mother. Perhaps people overlook her in the story, but she was an amazing woman of character.
When they lived in the big woods, she operated her home in amazing dispatch and orderliness. Living in the middle of nowhere didn't let her off the hook. They live in a civilized fashion. She saw to it. She rarely spoke harshly, always had her little girls with her in every task, watching, helping and observing. You never hear Laura mention her mother complaining.
Later on, their family faces disease (malaria and scarlet fever), the stress of travelling and relocating, poverty (long winter), in which they had nothing to eat but dried beans, potatoes, and raw wheat, not to mention having to fuel their fire with sticks twisted from hay. All through the season when one blizzard followed another, Caroline looked for ways to keep their minds and hands active and busy. She tried to avoid idleness in her home at all costs. They memorized a lot of Scripture and pieces out of the different levels of school readers.
I have to wonder what her childhood years were and how they prepared her for role as Charle's wife. She had the skills to do everything from making butter and cheese, to making straw hats, to sewing, etc. I wonder how her mother went about preparing her. If you read on in the story, Laura marries Almanzo, and have their own set of hardships, but you get the impression that Laura faces them with a lot more complaining and whining than her mother did. She wasn't nearly as willing to do all she could to keep home cheerful, orderly, and peaceful.
What women do you look to for examples of Godliness in the home??

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please be kind, folks:) Differences of opinion are fine, but let the love of Christ reign here...