I have a little confession: my family and I have become addicted to Little House on the Prairie. How we got to this point is a long story starting with a lesson in school about Laura Ingalls Wilder and ending with repeated trips to the library to check out DVDs.
Last night after we had cruised through another disc in Season Two, hubby said, “I think every American should have to watch this show.”
I have to agree. Little House is exactly the kind of show this nation needs right now. It’s filled with messages about getting along with others despite differences, facing challenges with bravery and tenacity, appreciating the little things, and giving back as much as you get in this world. Those are appropriate reminders in days when no one can find common ground, the easiest way is the only way, and we have more than ever before and it’s still not enough.
Last night before bed, I asked the boys to list off some of the lessons they’ve learned from the show thus far. Their answers were both insightful and humorous.
- Never try to keep a raccoon for a pet.
- Don’t spoil your kids or they will be mean like Nellie.
- Be grateful for what you have.
- Don’t blow yourself up with dynamite.
- If you are good to others, they will be good friends.
- It’s okay to push a bully if they’re asking for it.
- Wear your glasses even if other kids call you “Four Eyes.”
- Never climb a tree to get a kite. It’s not worth it.
- Once upon a time, Mankato was the big city.
I’m chagrined to admit that I get teary eyed at nearly each episode, but watching the shows again has reminded me of how much I have to appreciate and how little time I spend actually appreciating it. I’m thankful that I don’t have to go outside to pee in the middle of the night in the dead of winter. I’m thankful that I have an ample supply of hot water at my fingertips. I’m thankful that my house is heated and I’m not perpetually doomed to smell like a campfire. And I’m eternally thankful that I don’t have to deal with that bitchy Harriet Oleson.
Mostly, though, what I’m taking away from our addiction to Little House is time with my family, snuggled on the couch, talking about life and love and friendship. I’m happy to have this time with my boys before they become teens and want nothing more to do with me. I’m also thrilled to know that when times get tough for my little guys in the next few years we’ll be able to draw upon the things we’ve observed with the Ingalls. And, if they give me a hard time about their Christmas gifts this year, I’m just going to remind them that Laura received a tin cup, a piece of peppermint candy, and a shiny new penny and said it was the best Christmas ever.