I keep feeling like I’m on some modern-day episode of “Little House on the Prairie,” only I can’t walk off the set. 

It was fun for a couple weeks. 

Although on that show someone is always getting horribly maimed, blinded by disease, or bitten by venomous snakes, I’m feeling some eerily similar comparisons:

  1. I gave my husband a haircut. I’ve never given him a haircut. I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler but here I was nervously attempting to fade his hair evenly with a bunch of different guards and a trimmer. I guess there’s a reason Pa and Alonzo had that shaggy hair thing going. 
  1. Going to the grocery store feels like a big adventure trip that must be planned far in advance like “I’m going to town.” 
  1. Threat of virus looms. In Little House, it’s malaria and scarlet fever. They didn’t know much about either, and even thought watermelons were the cause of one so fear and falsehood prevailed. 
  1. Boundaries created by social distancing are as isolating as 100 acres of homesteading land only here most of us can’t just send out the kids to frolic in rivers and fields. I tried that one day last month before COVID-19 and some lady yelled at my son to get out of her creek. 
  1. While my kids’ teachers are tirelessly pouring themselves into lesson planning, Zoom meetings, instructional videos, and grading, at the end of the day, the instructin’ of my children at home is still up to me, ‘ol Ma.

Let’s look at the life of Caroline Ingalls or “Ma.”

It may come as a surprise, but just to school you on the basics, Ma never really wanted to be a pioneer. Just like you, she didn’t sign up for this. She was the “settling” type who was finally glad to stop moving West and set up a home. She was a good wife and mother who supported her family through it all. 

If we are to gleam anything from that real housewife of “Little House on the Prairie,” what should we take?

God is more important than things.
Maybe Caroline secretly wanted silk when she had to settle for calico. Sometimes, I bet she probably couldn’t even afford calico, but she made the best of it. Maybe she wanted new bonnets for her girls. Maybe she didn’t want to cut her kids’ hair. Maybe she secretly wanted to color her own hair. Maybe she didn’t want to work so hard! But through all of it, she didn’t complain. She put God first and showed her daughters that He was enough to provide for her daily, earthly needs. I must ask myself: do my kids see that Jesus is truly enough or do my actions and speech say otherwise? 

Live peacefully with others.
The Ingalls had to deal with Mrs. Olsen and Nellie. They weren’t too kind. They were schemers and delighted in getting the upper hand in every situation with Caroline and her daughters. Do you feel like you have a naughty Nellie under your roof right now? One you can’t get walk away from or mute like your kids’ teachers do on a Zoom meeting? Don’t blow it.  These are times when your kids are watching how you handle stress.  Who am I to kid? We’re going to blow it. Humble yourself and model the act of asking for forgiveness when you do. Take the time to do this correctly and it will teach them immeasurably more than you will ever know. 

Don’t be your kids’ activity director.
Ma danced, baked, and played with her kids. In moderation. She was a loving mother but she also taught them to entertain themselves and that being bored is really OK. Boredom is what creates novels, inventions and masterpieces. And warriors. I’d argue boredom forces boys to wander in backyards and fight imaginary enemies and battles with pretend lethal weapons. Who knows, maybe one day this little warrior will one day stand up for what’s right, look evil in the face and won’t back down.  A wandering mind is a beautiful thing. When one of my kids complains that they are bored, I institute this acronym that I saw on Pinterest one day:

Be creative

Outside play

Read a book

Exercise for 30 minutes 

Do something helpful

Things aren’t changing quickly enough for some of us around here on the home front. I keep asking myself: what do I want them to learn from me during this short season? I feel there are some life lessons just waiting to happen.

 Can’t wait to see what the next episode brings.

By Sally Loisel, CCS 6th Grade teacher