I have had the great pleasure of reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder to my young son. My older son is usually working on something else, but the story is so good, he is often drawn in too. Here are some things that have come to mind from this wonderful book.
We are producers. - God made us to make things. We are co-creators. The lie of advertising is that we are made to consume, but actually we are made to produce. With the gift of good land and strong bodies, we can make our own food, clothes and furniture. Let us not lose sight of this truth.
Work is good.- We have been made to think that work is the drudgery we get through to get to weekends or vacations. And yes, we all need sabbath and rest in our lives, but the ability to work and provide for our families is a blessing. Just ask someone who is disabled or unemployed.
Mothers as teachers.- Almanzo's mom is just pretty awesome. She is a baker, a seamstress, a weaver, a canner, a hatmaker, and a shrewd bargainer with peddlers. She does it all, but she isnt a helicopter parent. She is a teacher and we see the daughters have learned many of her skills (ice cream making!!) and are very competent. For all the technology and growth of knowledge we have now, there is much we have lost.
Respect goes both ways- Almanzo's father is respected, even feared (in a good way). But the beautiful thing about the father- son relationship is how his father really respects Almanzo and teaches him to be a man by talking to him with respect. He gives him life lessons, but he also puts him in positions of responsibility. And Almanzo learns that he really is a strong, smart boy.
Boys have so much to offer- In our society, Almanzo would probably get diagnosed with something and medicated. He itches to be outside and to be with the horses, be with the men working, be out and busy. Contrary to current perceptions, this is a GOOD thing. Boys have so much energy that can be used for productive, useful things. They want to be helpful, they want to be a contributing part of the family. Lets unplug them from meaningless video games and give them real tasks that take real strength and skill.
So much more I could say. This book is a delight.