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Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books made me fall in love with literature as a kid. I was lucky enough to have my mother’s childhood collection to read, and from the moment I first opened Little House in the Big Woods, I was hooked. I couldn’t get enough of pioneer life on America’s frontier as written by Laura.
Although the discoveries to be made in Laura’s tales were endless, there are five main things she taught her fans that have stuck with us.
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1. Put family first. The center of Laura’s world was her family. Her admiration for Pa, Ma, and her siblings is palpable throughout the Little House series. She owned the fact that her favorite place to be was at home listening to Pa’s fiddle music. And when Laura’s older sister, Mary, went blind from scarlet fever, she became her eyes.
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2. Be brave. Whether she was facing off against Nellie Oleson or proving she could run with the boys, Laura wasn’t afraid to be herself or say what she was thinking.
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3. Handmade gifts are the best kind. Money was often tight in the Ingalls homestead, and the family frequently had to improvise. Turns out, the presents Laura cherished most were those made by hand, which showed how much thought had gone into their creation.
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4. Appreciate nature. The scenery may have changed with the Ingalls family’s many moves, but there was always beauty to be found. From Wisconsin to Missouri, Kansas, and the American West, the Little House series made us want to run through the wilderness and conserve now rare open spaces that were once abundant.
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5. Work hard. Laura felt most satisfied when she had put in a good day’s work helping her family around the homestead, or when, as an adult and a school teacher, she had gotten through to one of her students. We’ve kept this idea of working for something of which you can be proud with us.
I can certainly appreciate number 3. As far as possible I try and make cards by hand if not the gifts themselves and it’s always gone down pretty well before. For my anniversary with my boyfriend I made him a lino print to represent an important moment in our relationship. Although I also bought him a book to accompany the print, it was certainly the lino he appreciated most!
You can see my post about it here: http://printsregent.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/personal-milestones.html
Thank you for your post about Laura Ingalls Wilder. I lived by her books growing up always wishing I could have been her or her best friend! I’m 59 years old now, and reading your post I realize how much influence her books and life have actually had on me. Thanks you! (I am going to reread them all this summer.)
I love these books and still read them, I loved that Laura set such an amazing example, despite how she may have felt. She might not have wanted to do certain things but she gritted her teeth and did them, and did her best to do so with a smile, and that’s rare nowadays. Definitely a role-model for kids and adults!
The Chicken Whisperer: Laura Ingalls Wilder and family authorship
A new essay about Laura Ingalls Wilder, Almanzo Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane, is now available as a Kindle E-Book!
Based on a scholarly paper written for University of Connecticut, author Wayne Jebian examines the roles played by Laura, her daughter, Rose, her husband, Almanzo, and her parents in the creation of the best-selling “Little House” series of books.
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