By Jamie Brewer
The Little House on the Prairie book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder tells the poignant tales of the Ingalls family’s adventure across the prairie. Through disease, major crop loss, blizzards and a tornado, the Ingalls family travels west in search of a place to call home. The classic American series based on author Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life has sold more than 60 million books in over 100 countries. So why is this nostalgic book series about the early 19th century still important today? Here are five lessons everyone should learn and remind themselves of:
- Family: Throughout the book series, family takes the center stage of all the novels. The affectionate and supportive family represents wholesome family values. With families constantly on the go today, it’s not always easy to spend time together. Taking note from the Ingalls family’s devotion to each other is important. The family always ate dinner together, protected each other, and laughed. Ingalls said, “A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing.”
- The Simple Life: In the digital age, the idea of a life without technology seems taboo. However, even today people are finding solace in stripping their lives down from the chaos of constantly being plugged-in. For most people, it is impossible to completely strip your life of technology, but taking the time to enjoy a few minutes without the internet can be beneficial. The Ingalls family took pleasure in homemade treasures like making paper garlands, pillows and homemade treats. Most of all, they valued the time they spent together. As Laura Ingalls Wilder said, “It is the simple things that matter most.”
- Gratefulness: Throughout the series, Caroline Ingalls (Ma) taught her children to be grateful and respectful of what they had. The frugal family used what they had, with very little waste. Ma explained to the children what their little house on the prairie was like: “It’s small, but it’s clean and pleasant.”
- Courage and strength: The stories of the Ingalls family depict the quintessential tale of American perseverance. Through their harrowing journey to unsettled lands, Charles Ingalls (Pa) is an example of pioneer grit and spirit. He teaches his children the importance of bravery through tough times. This lesson will resonate with today’s youth as they observe the power of courage when all seems impossible.
- Community: The town of Walnut Grove – where the Ingalls family lived – relied heavily on one another, showing the power of a strong community. Filled with that sense of camaraderie, the Ingalls often lent a helping hand to those in need; once, in the TV series, adopting three orphans. Today’s audiences will learn the importance of helping others.
On March 19, families are invited to join the Ingalls family on their journey at Wharton Center in the Pasant Theatre. The recommended ages for the performance are ages 7-12. For more information about the show and to purchase $14 tickets, click here.