Based on the life of author Laura Ingalls, daughter of Charles Ingalls, Little House on the Prairie depicts the lives of European pioneers in mid-19th century America. Let’s look at 5 lessons we can learn from her life so they can inspire our own lives.
1. Work as a daily pillar
Charles Ingalls’ life was characterized by work that began early and ended late. Whether in the field or on the farm, Charles’ constant effort has allowed him to develop his talents as a builder and handyman. As the saying goes, “Boredom is the mother of all vices”, which is the antithesis of Charles who works hard to make his family prosper by giving his best every day. This repeated effort gives him satisfaction, self-esteem and joy. These fruits of his labor are virtues that then benefit his relationships, whether with his wife or his children.
2. Benevolence in family relationships
What characterizes Charles is a kind of serene benevolence that seems to derive from his personality and natural temperament, but which is also the direct result of the efforts he makes every morning. This simple but dignified life gives him renewed energy and courage, which he puts at the service of his loved ones.
3. A sense of service
Charles helps his family and friends and acts as a kind of country gentleman who offers his services to anyone who asks him. He is the solid pillar of the family. There is of course a form of patriarchy that emerges from this family structure (he lived in the 19th century, let’s not forget!) but although he has a particular role to play within this social group that constitutes the family, he does not abuse the privileges he could enjoy. On the contrary. For someone who works and owns a small piece of land, he still finds time to serve his relatives after his hard days. He offers both moral and material support without even being asked. This attitude towards others makes him valuable to the community in which he works.
4. The absence of superiority towards women
His relationship with the opposite sex is free of any form of contempt or disdain. He treats his daughters and his wife with unconditional love, which shows his great humility. He does not impose a tyrannical rule at home, but rather allows his daughters and wife the freedom to make most decisions because he trusts them. In return, this trust is honored by the daughters’ impeccable attitude as they adore their father and would not want to disappoint him in any way.
5. A form of contentment and gratitude that sweetens life
The simplicity that characterizes the Ingalls family is an example we can all learn from. The simple joys they experience contrast with the recurring dissatisfactions that modern life seems to have in store for them. The contentment that comes from work and family life takes away the ills of today’s frenetic, consumerist life. Of course, this simplicity may seem naïve to us because it is also the mark of a certain ignorance of the complexity of big cities. But what is the point of seeking complexity if it is to end up unhappy? Is there not a simple wisdom to draw on among the Ingalls? Their desires and needs were simple, but they managed to live contentedly and gratefully under conditions that were sometimes unfavorable (e.g., the blindness of Marie Ingalls). Happiness is within reach tomorrow, but we must know how to cultivate contentment and gratitude every morning and place faith as a guide to move forward with confidence.