Thursday, May 17, 2007

Glimpses At the Classics - Little House in the Big Woods

"Don't touch, Selena!"

These words have been heard in our humble home many times over the last few weeks. Selena now knows what "no," means, and what happens when daddy and mommy's heedings are ignored.

It gives a satisfying feeling to the heart when "no!" is spoken and Selena immediately pulls her little hand back and turns around to crawl in search of greener pastures. This week, however, I am being tested, often, by my little sweetheart. Sometimes when she hears "no," she turns and looks at me while reaching a second time for whatever it is she was touching. Many times this week, I have had to put aside what I was working on to enforce the lesson. Which brings me to Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Lets join Laura and Ma. They think they see their cow, Sukey, standing at the barnyard gate:

"Laura was surprised to see the dark shape of Sukey, the brown cow, standing at the barnyard gate. Ma was surprised too...

"Sukey, get over! She (Ma) reached across the gate and slapped Sukey's shoulder.

Just then, one of the dancing little bits of light from the lantern jumped between the bars of the gate, and Laura saw long, shaggy, black fur, and two little, glittering eyes.
Sukey had thin, short, brown fur. Sukey had large, gentle eyes.

Ma said, "Laura, walk back to the house."

So Laura turned around and began to walk toward the house. Ma came behind her. When they had gone part way, Ma snatched her up, lantern and all, and ran. Ma ran with her into the house, and slammed the door.

Then Laura said, "Ma, was it a bear?"

"Yes, Laura," Ma said. "It was a bear ..."

"... He didn't hurt us."

Ma said, "You were a good girl, Laura, to do exactly as I told you, and to do it quickly without asking why."

I read this with a little chill, as I realize how important it is to teach our children to obey ...

immediately - this means the first time
without asking why

Notice that Ma has to speak once to Laura, and without knowing why, Laura obeys.

I remember a sermon by Pastor Carlson when he said that our children need to obey "sweetly, neatly, and completely."

Oh, may we not weary of training her little soul ... it could be a matter of life and death.


Sara said...

I love Little House in the Big Woods, and the Little House on the Prairie series! Very, very important lesson, and that reminds me that I need to have a heart of submission. Thanks Bev!

Joel and Jaime said...

That's the perfect example of one of the reasons we want our children to obey! I can't wait to read the Little House books to Cosette!

Beka said...

Oh, the Little House series is one of my absolute favorites. We are in the process of collecting the books.
This was a great lesson, too, in teaching children. I love the quote from Pastor Carlson-- "sweetly, neatly, and completely". That is so true.
I'm really enjoying these Glimpses from the Classics posts, Bev!

Maxine said...

How true, how true. I have long remembered that example, except that somehow I had gotten it mixed up in my head that it was Pa who had given Laura the directive. What a beautiful thing it is to see a child who obeys quickly and cheerfully. And they are happy, secure children. Even though much of it is fiction, this is one area that the Little House series does shine by example.
This series of posts is so appropriate for you because of the love you've had for these classics through the years. I hope Selena grows to love them all too.

Beba said...

I didn't have chance to read this book but i got the point. Yes! We have to teach them to obey, it could be, as you said, matter of life and death!

Anonymous said...

I was very thankful that my goddaughter knew, that when I say "stop" I mean it and she has to follow at once (of course it wears out when using the 'magic' too often).
But this way I could let her run in front of me right next to a street with lots of traffic. She instantly followed my shout, when I said "stop", so I could give her more freedom.
Sometimes I think its the same with our relationship with God, isn't it?

By the way: I am afraid if I read some more of your Classics, my Amazon purchases will go up again :-)

Baptist Girl said...


It is so important how we raise our children, their lives depend on it. Everything we do in their presences matters, we are their role models. The Lord speaks so much in His word how parenthood is so important.


Stacy said...

I like that: "sweetly, neatly, and completely." We always ask that our children "obey right away, all the way, and with a happy heart! (I can't take credit for it, though... that was in Ginger Plowman's book Don't Make Me Count to Three ):)


In Pursuit of His Call said...


Tanya said...

I love this -- "sweetly, neatly, and completely." This post is quite timely for me. I've spent this week working on a chapter of my proposed book. This particular chapter defines true obedience. Your post is a perfect parallel.