By Brie Gowan, with permission.
This past year I read a book with my daughter called Little House in the Big Woods. You may be familiar with it. It’s the first book written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and it began the popular Little House on the Prairie series. I don’t recall reading it before, and as I read it to my five year old, I think I enjoyed it even more than she did.
Something about the way the family lived intrigued me. I love my internet tremendously, but the simplicity and closeness this family shared sounded really wonderful to me. The idea of working together, for each other, drew me into their little world. Many times as I read the pages aloud, I yearned for such a time as the ones described.
I look around today, and I wonder if we wouldn’t be better taking a step back in time where we could focus more on important matters, and less on trivial ones. I see the things around me that cause so much unneeded stress, and I truly believe that the principalities and powers of darkness wish to destroy what God has created.
God favors families. He favors love, time together, and focus on cultivating those relationships. What I see today is in direct opposition of that, yet those things have developed slowly over time, so much so, that we don’t even notice them deteriorating the fabric of family.
Our pre-teens and teenagers are so absorbed in their Snapchat and Instagram that they can’t even come up for air. Not that we notice. We’re buried in our Facebook newsfeed or hottest new game app.
Silent Tragedy: Every Parent Who Cares About The Future Of His/Her Child Should Read This
The normalcy of public school education with its ever increasing curriculum demands are swallowed like good medicine. The school year gets longer, testing increases, and hours of homework creep into the family time. So children that already spend 8-9 hours away from home are spending their evening hours doing more projects, reports, and extra credit assignments.
Mom and dad are too exhausted to help much. They’re tired because they’re putting in more hours. Dual working parents are the majority. And while the cost of living has definitely increased over time, I wonder how much of our “necessities” are truly that?
We work more to be able to buy more, yet we hardly have time to enjoy all our purchases. We save all year long for a week long vacation that leaves us exhausted and in need of a day off from our off days.
A lot of our hard-earned money is spent on activities. So. Many. Activities. We spend more time driving to activities, purchasing gear, costumes, and accessories for our activities, or working on our off days to raise funds for our activities. Activities where we watch other people teach, coach, and mentor our children. Is this the time together we’re craving?
Makes you think.
Time together doesn’t cost a dime.
Quality Time Together
If you had to sit down and add up how much quality time you spend alone with your spouse, what would it be? What about your children? And not time doing and going. Just time. Is it less time than you spend on your weekly commute to work?
It makes you wonder if divorce is more prominent today because it’s become socially more acceptable, or could it be because we’re spending less time enjoying the company of our spouse?
Would children get in less trouble if they had a present parent/parents available to guide them?
They say it takes a village to raise a child, but I’m wondering if we’ve taken that too far. Now we just want the village to take care of them.
And then when our children fall down and fail we can have teachers, coaches, and the church to blame for their demise.
This is hard stuff to think about.
It’s taking everything we’ve called normal over the past few decades or more and realizing that it’s actually destroying the family unit. Our kids are playing ball 3-5 times a week until 10pm, and the parents are working 60 hours a week to keep designer duds on the kiddos lest they get bullied for wearing WalMart brand clothing.
Everyone has a TV in their room, a cell phone in their pocket, and a brand new car in the drive-way yet none of that will go to Heaven with us.
We’re working very hard providing material possessions for our children, when in all reality we should be on our knees with them leading them to a closer walk with Jesus. Eternal life is what we should want for our kids, not the best education money can buy.
And while I’m all for giving them a bright future, I don’t want to give them the world if it forfeits their soul.
When my grown children look back on life I want them to have memories of time well spent rather than spending all the time. I gotta work on this! I don’t have it all figured out either, but I’d like to think my eyes are open enough to see that Satan wishes to destroy us.
Satan wants us tired, worn thin, and stressed.
Satan wants us in debt up to our eyeballs, and our health failing because we can’t sleep enough, eat right, or handle our stress effectively.
Satan wants husbands and wives fighting over finances, disrespectful teens who learned how to treat their parents based off Nickelodeon sitcoms, and thousands of young children sexually abused by the adults we’re so quick to place our trust in.
Satan wants us busy, but not productive.
He wants our plates full, but our tank empty.
Satan wants us looking to society for what’s best for our families, not God’s word as a lamp to our feet.
Satan wants the family unit ripped apart, and many times I look around and see us letting him.
We’re not even trying to take a stand.
Not too Late
I’d like to believe that it’s not too late. We can still fight to save our families. Perhaps it all comes down to stepping out in wisdom, courage, and truth for our family.
In a world that’s so busy ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’, maybe it’s time to be a Little House on the Prairie. What do you think?
*Of note, this isn’t meant to offend anyone. It’s just meant to trigger thinking about it. I’m certainly a work in progress.
Brie Gowen is a thirty-something wife and mother. When she’s not loving on her hubby, bouncing a happy toddler on her hip, chasing her preschooler, or teaching her six year old at the kitchen table, she enjoys cooking, reading, and writing down her thoughts to share with others. Brie’s also an adoptee, former outcast, missionary, veteran, nurse and child of the One True King.
I, too, loved the Little House series but please know that was a very fictionalized and sanitized book series. When the publisher read the first drafts they were so shocked they said they could never sell it. Laura’s daughter, Rose, helped her edit and rewrite and make it far more child friendly but also much less true.
Much has been written about what the truth actually was. We all want the fairytale version of what life was like but in each generation there is an opportunity to step into our own lives and make it matter, as well as the opportunity to squander it. The choice is ours.
I did not know that. Now I am super curious to learn more. I loved the show and series.
If you are interested in the real Little House on the Prairie story, the book, Prairie Fires is quite interesting! It is a historical account of the Ingalls family. Laura definitely glossed over the story of her family… I don’t think it was meant to be deceitful though. Her books were written to teach children about her life and the life of the pioneers. And I think they do that very well! Like anyone else, there were parts of her life that weren’t the greatest. And so she didn’t include them.
Families strive to have the best most expensive things now, from clothes to furniture and cars, not to mention homes. Families used to work toward a down payment or pay something off before creating more debt, no now! It’s want it now get it now! Children are on the back burners while mom and dad are working long and hard to keep food on the front burner.
Grandparents help with the kids but can only do so much! So yes they are not getting that family time needed.
We are a sad materialistic world! Going back to the time of the little house and the big woods would be a healing place for most!
Boy, Rita Burgess, you have said a mouthful! So true, and it would be VERY healing as you said! Thank you for enriching us with that great memory! ~J
The Little House series is fiction, based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life. It doesn’t have to be true to remind us that time with our families is precious and and easily wasted on things that won’t last. As a teacher of 42 years, I find it harder and harder to reach the children. They’ve been praised so much, they can’t take suggestions on how to improve their work. They race through work because they have way too many commitments after school. Yet, when I pull out some old-fashioned thing to play during rainy day recess, they let down their hair and become kiddos again. Nothing wrong with wanting to be like Little House in the Big Woods regardless of whether it happened or not. It’s good to be alone as a family, talking, telling stories, singing together. It gives us a place to start and I, for one, want to start anew with my grandchildren and make a difference.
Malana, I sense that you will make a huge difference to your grandchild! This: “They’ve been praised so much, they can’t take suggestions on how to improve their work.” I have been wondering/thinking about that a lot!
Great article, excellent advice.
Malana, as a grandmother, I can well relate to what you say.
My kids grew up watching Little House, enjoying all the ups and downs of family life, siblings sharing, caring, even quarrelling – all of this was normal life.
Today kids sit in front of a television most of the day, or are on I-pads, cell phones, computers or the like – everything that kills their communication skills and pollutes their minds.
Most children are pampered and demanding with a sense of entitlement – clear case of the tail wagging the dog.
Gone are the days of working together, praying together, having meals together – the lack of “glue” in our families and society today is responsible for the break-ups and heartbreak we see,
Yes, Satan is laughing – he loves it when everyone is too busy for family life and clean fun !
Well said. I miss the 24 years of homeschooling my 12 children . . . of working together, praying together, having meals together. I am so thankful that my children are choosing to do many of these things with my 15 grandchildren.
Oh. Laurel, it is music to my ears to hear there are families that are continuing to follow the Lord in meaningful ways. I will be a first time grandmother in February, and I can’t wait!
Our recently married children are also walking with the Lord, and so I am looking forward to holding and singing hymns to their little ones!
God bless your whole family! ~J
I couldn’t say it ANY BETTER!!
Just because it was fictional (Little House), doesn’t mean it wasn’t POSSIBLE.
LOVE the article, enjoyed it, and agreed wholeheartedly with it.
AMEN!!! Loved this!
Anytime we look back on another time we are only seeing a partial picture.
Yes, Julie, Brie brings it that personal level that most of us experience!
I found myself just saying, wow, as I was reading this. Couldn’t agree more with this article. Incredibly relevant and sadly so fitting for today’s lifestyle. Thank you for this.
Brie makes so much sense! I am so glad you are finding it relevant, Peggy!
AMEN and THANK YOU from Slovakia.
*added your blog to my carefully curated Feedly list
From one blogger to another, Thank you, Peter! I have visited your photographic blog and LOVED all the wedding photos!
Blessings 🙂 J
Great points and I couldn’t agree with you more! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!
Great points and I couldn’t agree with you more! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!
I couldn’t find a way to reply to the post, “Why Have We Stopped Protecting Our Daughters,” but I would like to feature this Thursday at Home Sweet Home! This one really got me. I have raised boys but, the little ladies they are in class with are subjected to a media out of control with many issues and it is shaping our children. Sad to see but, Satan has been working overtime in this area and most 20-30 year old parents aren’t even noticing. It is like they have been playing truth or dare with their children. It will be a most unpleasant future for many of these kids. Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!
Sure, that would be wonderful, Sherry! Thank you! <3 J
Can you please explain how Satan wants us to be “Tired, worn out, and stressed”? The pressure of “Keeping up with the Kardashians” is a choice PEOPLE make. First and foremost, there is NO evidence the god of the bible or satan are real. Secondly, if for arguments sake you would like to assume they are real, then according to the bible satan has no power to tempt anyone without gods permission. I know the argument that god allows satan to tempt us in order to test our faith, Job being the most prominent example, but why would a supposedly loving god do such a thing? I argue it is not satan at all, rather god that wants you to make poor life choices so you will in turn need him more. I don’t ever recall the devil tempting anyone to splurge recklessly financially in the bible. The bible says that he comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But actual examples are: tempting eve to eat from the tree of knowledge (shock! Knowledge how horrible), telling Abraham he shouldn’t sacrifice his son (not commit MURDER, how dare he), tempting Jesus to eat and drink water while fasting in the desert (taking care of yourself so you don’t die, real bad guy this satan).
However, as I stated, there is no evidence said god of the bible, or any other for that matter, exists. There are only people. People choosing to love and live, and people choosing to judge and condemn. There are far more judgmental religious people pushing their beliefs on others about how they should live, who they should love, what is appropriate attire and what is not, and what a “family” looks.
Those of us who have chosen to cut all ties with organized religion, shed the unattainable burden of expectations propagated by an imaginary being in the sky, and simply live the way we chose while letting others live the way they chose, experience more peace, love, community, compassion than can ever be experienced from a church body.
It’s not about god or satan. It’s about people. People are the problem, but people are also the answer.
I think you said it best in your last paragraph. You simply live the way you choose will letting others live the path they choose.
“Evidence“ is a difficult thing for one to decipher. Who, I ask, is qualified to say what makes one person’s evidence more or less credible than another’s? I suppose it’s easier to set aside such complicated and/or seemingly biased claims, whether they be concerning the mysteries of God, or any other subject. There are hundreds of thousands of “believers” today and throughout history who have testified with conviction their knowledge or belief that God is real, but let’s set that aside for now… How about something more straightforward and easy to accept… like mathematics?
Sure, math can get complicated, but it can also be broken down, simplified, and proven as “truth” through reason and logic, according to the great wisdom and understanding of man. For instance, did you know that it has been mathematically “proven” that there could be anywhere between 10-26 dimensions in our universe? We have no tangible evidence that this is true, of course, just the word of some very smart, qualified authorities in mathematics and quantum physics presenting this to us as a mathematical possibility. I certainly am no expert on the subject, and therefore have no argument against such a monumental scientific claim. But I can’t help but ask, “If that can be true (in theory), how then can it be so difficult to accept the possibility that there IS in fact a God? Perhaps even dwelling, ironically, in one, or a collection, of these other, currently mysterious, dimensions?” One that you facetiously refer to as “an imaginary being in the sky”. Perhaps God is, in reality, closer than you realize. Close enough to hear one’s sincere inquiry to know if He is really there, even if it is uttered under one’s breath, or even in thought. You see, I personally experienced such an event in my life in an undeniable fashion… But of course, I am just one individual who could have just imagined it, or had some chemical imbalance in my brain that night… but then again, if we do some simple math and add that one experience to the hundreds of thousands of other such claims… it becomes a pretty difficult thing to simply ignore (for me, at least).
All that being said, I agree with you, that God wants us to use our God-given reason and choice to figure some of this stuff out on our own, religious and non-religious alike, together. You resent the exclusion you’ve perceived from certain religious bodies (I do not doubt it, we all fall short of perfection), yet you say the answer for you is exclusion from those who are religious? I believe the old adage that “God will not do for man what man can do for himself.” Anything else that He has done or will do for us is, in it’s truest sense, a miracle. But just because we live at this point in space and time as mortals, creatures capable of good AND evil, does not mean that God cannot be a Being capable of loving each and every one of us perfectly and unconditionally – who seeks to influence us to be good and have joy collectively – just as Satan seeks to influence us to do evil and be alone and miserable (tired, worn out, stressed) …possibly seeking to influence us from some other, separate, nearby, unseen dimension?
The book with some tweeks is the life of modern day Agriculture Families (Farmers and Ranchers) but yet our society or culture is continually attacking these families. Life is hard enough but trying to keep traditions alive and family the center focus while growing food for the world is very difficult when constantly hammered by City Society Ideals (ironically we are feeding the city and they are trying to close us down). Agriculture is just like family in the story we wont realize what we have lost or are missing until it is too late and long gone.
Cassie (Lyman Ranches 6th generation Ranching Family) Gisela AZ
Cassie, I am not sure how this post applies to farmers. We are farmers! Sorry, but you maybe didn’t really read it?
The Little House books are the old ways, and modern farming life brings a lot of those values forward to the present, yet they face more opposition than in the older days.
Thank you for writing your piece – inspiration can come from anywhere… including children’s books. The only thing i am reminded of is stories my great grandmother, who lived to be 109, used to tell me… The past is the past for a reason. She never regretted her life experience, but she didn’t glorify it either. She shared fond memories of family – like playing cards with her great grandmother and aunts on Sundays after family dinner. But she also remembered how hard life was, how hard everyone had to work, and how fragile life was. Her best friend died when she was only 11, and her mother who was a midwife, had to bury as many babies as she attended their baptisms. LIFE WAS HARD. And the family time we romanticize was not as easy to come by…there was a lot of work to be done, by everyone…not to keep a home, but to live.
So, I remember that when I think about romanticizing the past. The truth is most of us have access to enough time and resources to choose how we spend our time. If you dread the constant access to cell phones and gaming, dont purchase them…go to a flip phone, and give up the tablets and game consoles. Or keep them and decide to appreciate the lives you are choosing…
My last thought is one is really some thing I wonder about… and that is whether God actually prefers anything. It is my understanding that God is everything, the creator of all… that is how I know God. And from this perspective, wonder why God would prefer one state of being over another… or prefer anything. God Is, and if I hold this as TRUTH, then there is nothing that God is not. And how then, can God take a position, as it would be a judgement of God. So, I often wonder why so many people who believe in the omnipotence of God, will apply such a human way of viewing life. Not a judgement – just sharing my thoughts.
Thank you for sharing your inspiration. I think you have good points, being with those you love and value -creating quality time is extremely important…and it is my great hope that you find more of this as it is what you deeply desire. God is GOOD and may all of that good flow toward your deepest desires. Blessings to you.
Hi, NCD! Thank you for commenting.
I have a few scriptures from the Creator of the world and universe. He does have laws and holds the stars in place. He doesn’t have preferences at all. He has commands.
Consider these verses written to mankind through the prophets and the disciples as he quickened their spirits through His Holy Spirit:
“But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands…” 1 Thes. 4: 10-12
“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deut. 5: 6-7
“Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.” Prov. 4: 23-27
“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Gal. 5:24
“Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.” Ps 119:37
NCD, those are just a very few of what comes to my mind in answering you. The distractions of this world steal the very lifeblood of relationship especially with Christ and all else suffers. If you world seems hollow or shallow, think on these 2:
“But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it.: Matt. 7:14
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” ~John 14:6
I hope that illuminates where this believer in Christ Jesus is coming from!
Thank you for your blessing! Indeed God is good! ~J
Awesome article!!! I agree %100. These are the principles i teach at my church. It starts at each persons home. Don’t love the world!!!
very well said Brie, I beliieve that is true the scripture in 1 Peter 5 : 8 says satan is like a lion seeking to devour, what a better place to start than the basic family unit to bring down entire civilations. Thanks for your insight
I’m in my thirties too, and my parents took the same path/attitude this article promotes. Implemented it in many ways, including banning and carefully selecting media and screentime, promoting books, suburban ‘farming’, and many old fashioned skills, tools, and virtues. I have nothing but praise for all of it, and i feel i have had a rare experience in that inheritance. HOWEVER, since continuing to follow that path myself, plenty of job skills but no formal credit, four beautiful children, living in town life, and shifting into the digital age, well it has been quite the leap. My experience has taught me that it is the PRINCIPLES that are so compelling and useful to copy. Screentime has some peculiar depletions bc of dopamine addiction, but otherwise it is important to remember that we can best copy Laura by doing HOW she did, not what. She was resourceful, well-read, diligent, observant, stubborn, self-reliant, and tidy. Being stressed is easy to assume is ‘of the devil’ but it cannot be so much about stress as it is the distraction and depletion for more godly goals. What difference does it make if the connection between people is digital, paper, or slate? What difference is it if we make bread with our hands, a machine, or a purchase from the store? It has to be about the state of the soul. What difference is it to idolize the Ingalls rather than the Kardashians if it it still idolatry? So then it does not have to be a war between ‘then and now’ but rather all things brought in subjection to the mind of Christ. There is nothing intrinsically more virtuous in cow dung than in lipstick. ?
I can’t even thank you enough for this. This is my answer to some questions I have been praying about. Thank you.
Praise God, Karen! Brie Gowen is so right on, and I am thankful to be able to bring her wise words to air on DRAH!
While I understand you are writing from your own limited experience as a married mother, the statement that God favors families is untrue. I am a single parent by my own choice and I do not believe for one second that God does not favor me because I’m not married. Nor did God not favor me before I adopted my children. The idea that God favors one person over another is also wrong – who are you to judge that?
Further, it sounds like you would benefit from experiencing life in other places – where I live we prioritize time with family and friends and I don’t know many people who fit your category of work work work, etc. The way you describe your life and the lives of those around you sounds truly sad and a little depressing. Find a community that embraces those values – you’ll be a lot happier.
Sarah, could you be missing the point?
You and your children ARE a family!
While I didn’t write this post, he author, Brie Gowan, is decrying that “our pre-teens and teenagers are so absorbed in their Snapchat and Instagram that they can’t even come up for air.” She is not speaking of her own children but those of society at large. Brie’s children are small and not immersed in electronics because they have better things to do.
I hope you can extend grace and read more carefully. You were/are not being judged. I hope defensiveness was not causing it to be the other way around!
This has been on my heart a lot lately. Thank you for putting it so eloquently into words. Spot on and a great reminder!