When I was young, I remember canning peaches with Grandma, Grandpa and mom,
all of us in the kitchen scalding, peeling, slicing, filling jars all day.
The task was hard work, for we went about it from early morning until dinner
and then began again the next day, until Grandma and Grandpa’s capacious car was empty of boxes. But we were all willing workers because we knew the end result would be lovely, firm,
delicious, sumptuous peaches all the year long.
When parenting springs up in full swing, our young beckon us to play with them, teach them.It is an invitation to shape a life, sculpt, inspire.
We can choose what is important, where we will put a watchful eye, and urge them to reach out and discover a new adventure, a new skill, and new place for their talents.
Here we set our daughters on the path to cultivate skills while she is young,
introducing her to domesticity’s innovative offerings.
My mother included me, matter-of-factly, in all that she did.
If she was cleaning, I was cleaning by her side.
I was not forced, simply included, in her life.
We fed the horses and took care of cows together, I learned as we went, how much hay and grain for each animal, how to walk carefully around them so I would be safe.
She guided and gently corrected as we did dishes, cooked meals, washed the car, worked in the garden, sewed, entertained many guests, rode horses, and learned to drive.
Her relaxed manner encouraged my interests and made everything enjoyable.
The principle she taught me through unspoken words is that
children learn best when doing their work with a parent.Little daily activities unwittingly became my education, skills that I value greatly today far above the knowledge I attained in chemistry class or Algebra.
As I look to the training of my own daughters, I see that
the basics of life skills are more precious than book learning.
Skills that could save her life, like tending a fire, simple cooking, first aid, wilderness survival skills. These are at the top of my priority list to teach my children beginning around age 7 or 8.
More and more opportunities abound that will enable a daughter to become well rounded,
capable of handling most anything life throws at her amid her journey.
A thorough knowledge of gardening, sewing, childcare, cleaning, hunting, cooking, baking, canning, and driving are what I consider essential skills for life.
Grandma talked of herbal remedies and wild crafting,
Grandpa spoke of bee keeping, hunting, and living simply, without “perfumed coffee” and such.
Papa always thought girls should know how to handle a wrench or a power tool,
and be able to back a trailer in anyone’s driveway.
These are skills that have hung with me and proved to be priceless time and again,
skills we are teaching our daughters as they increase in age.
Now that our two oldest girls are teens, I look upon our home as
an informal university with classes that are conducted seven days a week.
It holds the most caring and qualified teachers,
who know the hearts of their students better than anyone else.
The curriculum covers every subject that pertains to every day living and managing of the home yet unaccomplished: grocery shopping, budgeting, hospitality, home management, caring for the sick, haircutting, decorating, and etiquette.
As you can imagine, a young maiden attaining all these skills is never bored,
and rarely participates in idle, unproductive entertainments.
She exudes an interest in learning new things.
She is vivacious in her attitude about life.
She is becoming prepared, acquiring skills that give her confidence for the days to come,
she will be able to look well to the ways of her household.
Daughters are blessed immeasurably by the persistent instruction of a mama,
who forsakes much of her own interests
in order that she may devote the short time she has raising a child to them.
I know from experience, that is what my mom did for me.
This is my vision for my daughters, and I know it will be worth it all in the end, just like the coveted peaches my mom, myself, and our girls still can together today.
Here is my beautiful mom, who does not know she is beautiful, inside and out.